Current Issue #488

Respect for Country

Respect for Country

To celebrate a decade of Hot 100 Wines, Warndu’s Damien Coulthard painted an exclusive piece for the wine show and publication.

Coulthard is one-half of Warndu with his partner Rebecca Sullivan. Together the pair champion native ingredients with their range of brews and oils. They also hold pop-up events that utilise native ingredients in intriguing ways, such as Brew and Broth where the couple served ‘native pho’ using kangaroo and emu broth with Indigenous greens. Coulthard’s painting, called Mai Wapantyutu, which means ‘fruit for the picking’ in the Adnyamathanha language, is a “story of country and a place of creation in relation to the making of wine”.

“It represents the actual wine regions of South Australia, the valleys and hills, the soils and sky,” Coulthard says.

“It’s not traditional to paint about wine in my culture but I drink wine and love it. I am trying to paint modern pieces reflective of my life while using some aspects of traditional Indigenous art.”

Hot 100 Wines Cover Design by Damien Coulthard

With the piece, Coulthard wants viewers to ponder about the importance of country.

“I want people to think about the way we tell stories in my culture and the importance of creation stories,” he says.

“Even though this isn’t a traditional piece, it’s still a story of place. Place is central to everything in my culture. This stems from our love of the land and our belief in protecting our country. Respect for country is an important part of our values and beliefs.”

Coulthard, who teaches at Le Fevre High and is on the South Australian Native Title board, only started painting this year and has already been commissioned for a piece from a French couple.

“Rebecca had bought a piece of Aboriginal art before we met and she wanted to hang it in our home,” he says of how his journey into art began.

“I didn’t like it and joking around said I could do better and she said: ‘go on then’. That’s how it started. Now I can’t stop. I have always had an interest in art since I was young. I just never pursued it until now.”

Sullivan and Coulthard started Warndu, which primarily sells native brews and oils, in early 2016. Sullivan, who also runs Dirty Girl Kitchen, says they will expand to skincare and wellbeing products soon. They decided to start Warndu after Coulthard’s grandfather died and realised that the knowledge, culture and skill of Coulthard’s family could one day be lost.

“We thought: ‘how can we do something that represents what we care about, protects a bit of the culture and tradition in a respectful way and champions Australian native ingredients’,” Sullivan says.

“That’s where the conversations started and then we thought, ‘well, we might as well do something in food considering that’s my area of expertise’.”

They decided to initially concentrate on brews.

“Originally, we were just going to start a tea brand, or a brew brand, we call it brew because we don’t have any caffeine in any of our brews yet, as we’re only trying to work with Australian ingredients. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to that, so we decided to make it more of a wellbeing brand because we realised that all of these ingredients are functional, and they would potentially make good skincare supplements. So, from a business perspective, we are trying to think of more than just food.”

One of Warndu’s objectives is linked to being a social enterprise, so they’ve partnered with Why Warriors and Hope for Health, as well as City Reach.

“We’ll be launching, not necessarily a soup kitchen, but we’re going to collaborate with a church group, called City Reach in Bowden where we’ll be supplying our broth as soup for homeless people in our neighbourhood, Bowden.”

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