Indigenous people have been making ochre paints for as long as their culture has been alive.
Groote Traditional Owner Murabuda Muramarrba talked about how his brother used to cook and strain the paint to make it smooth and not sandy or gritty.
Working with Men Shed coordinator Ian O’Malley, they managed to develop a technique of cooking and straining the mixture to create the desired effect.
They hope to not only start using the paint in artwork but also to sell it as a speciality item.
Paint on Groote Eylandt is made from many natural ingredients, such as manganese, clay and rock.
The Men Shed’s has already trained one Traditional Owner, Eric Amagula, to make the paint.
It is hoped two or three local staff will be employed in manufacturing the paint.
Although it is a laborious process to make the paint, it is believed it will fetch a premium price at market, such as $12-15 for a two ounce pot.
“That would return a reasonable profit,” says Men Shed coordinator Ian O’Malley. “It’s all part of our push to set up commercial enterprises based on traditional culture.”
Some local artists have already used the paints.
Black paint comes from manganese, white and yellow from clay, and red and lilac from rock.