Heather Wunjara Koowootha


Region: Yarrabah Queensland
Clan Group: Wik Mungkan, Djabuguy/Yidinji
Born: 1966, Cairns, Far Nth Qld
CV: Heather Koowootha

Heather developed a love for art in primary school and only in the past year has she had the opportunity to seriously devote more time to art and learning new skills at Canopy Art Centre, Cairns.

Heather’s works are inspired by stories and experiences growing up and her print works, in particular, portray detailed drawings based on lore and order, sacred land protocols, bush medicine, bush classroom, bush food, cultural punishments, and other themes based on community life, history and culture.

Heather works in a range of mediums such as painting, drawing, printmaking, jewellery, and weaving. Heather is also interested in listening to stories that inform her work.

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 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.

Indigenous copyright registered

Member of indigenous art code Australia

5% of all retail will sales go directly to the artists

Commissioned artworks by Glen Mackie

More about Heather

  • 2017 Thancoupie Bursary Award for development of new work
  • 2016 National Works on Paper Award Finalist
  • 2015 32nd Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, MAGNT, Darwin (Finalist)
  • 2015 Footwear design commission, in association with Sandy Spiers – Deakin Beach Art Australia
  • 2014 Regional Arts Development Fund Grant to collaborate with Master Printer Theo Tremblay, Cairns
  • 2015 Chronicles of Yarrabah, Emily Kiddell (editor); IMPRINT quarterly; Journal of the Print Council of Australia; vol. 50, Summer 2015, No. 4
  • 2015 Roz Pulley, The Cairns Post, Creative Types – Heather Koowootha Artist, 3/10/2016
  • 2015 Bobbi Ruben; exhibition catalogue, July-September; Cairns Regional Gallery; Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
  • 2015 Teho Ropeyarn; Pathways catalogue, UMI Arts, Cairns, QLD
  • 2014 The Art that sets Heather Koowootha Free, ABC Open Far North Qld on Vimeo
  • Cairns Art Gallery, Qld
  • Canson Australia
  • Cape York Land Council, Qld
  • City of Fremantle, WA
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Vic
  • National Gallery of Australia, ACT
  • Print Council of Australia
  • Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Qld
  • State Library of Victoria, Vic
  • University of Melbourne (Baillieu Library collection), Vic
  • + national and international private collections
  • 2021 Heather Wunjarra Koowootha – Collection in Focus, Cairns Art Gallery, Qld
  • 2017  Heather Koowootha – Recent Works, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns
  • 2014  Stories from my Upbringing: from north to south-east, UMI Arts, Cairns
  • 2014  Rear Visions: Looking Back, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns (Cairns Indigenous Art Fair)
  • 2016  Print Council of Australia Print Commission
  • 2015  Traditional women’s building materials – textile design commissioned by Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld.