Heather Wunjarra Koowootha

Collection in focus

28 Aug –
9 Oct 2021

Heather Koowootha draws inspiration from traditional ecological knowledge of plants passed down to her from her mother (of the Yidinji peoples, Yarrabah) and father (of the Wik Mungkan peoples, Aurukun). Koowootha explores the ritual significance of local native flora based on their medicinal and magical properties.

Her botanical illustrations held in the Cairns Art Gallery Collection reflect distinct knowledge systems and cultural practices established by both Koowootha’s parents and their Ancestors. Koowootha visually documents and describes various plants and their uses, incorporating hand-written text into her bold and colourful work. Her illustrations carry important knowledge associated with the medicinal and ritual uses of plants in birth, women’s business, marriage, death and other important ceremonies of the Yidinji and Wik Mungkan peoples.



Selected Works


The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji as the Traditional Owners of the area today known as Cairns. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.