Our first iteration of Long Haul Spa didn’t actually have any packaging at all. Our thought was that it was an unnecessary waste of resources for something that was ultimately going to be thrown out. Our kits came in a drawstring fabric bag that was perfect as a shoe or laundry bag when travelling. We thought we were pretty clever…..and it was fine for our on-line sales, because everything you would put on a package - and more - was available on the website.
But moving into physical settings – gift shops, airport retail, duty free, on-board – presented a new set of customer challenges. And packaging became an issue. Because – of course – people want to know what they are buying, and they want it to look nice – especially if it is going to be a gift. So, we set out to come up with a solution that created minimal waste and served a purpose.
With our roots planted in Australia we wanted it to be meaningful....and so the search began. We took to our go-to resource when we have a question for the universe – Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine. If you don’t know this face book group, you should. What an incredible group of women from around the globe! (In fact, when we first beta tested Long Haul Spa in 2018, our testers were identified through this group!). It was through LMBDW that we found Jonas Dare – a Barngarla woman from South Australia. And so, our collaboration with Jonas began!
Jonas is an exceptional artist and has shown nationally and internationally – most recently in Osaka, Japan. She is co-owner of Jonas Jaja Aboriginal Art Gallery in Quorn at the gateway to the stunning Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Inspired by her mother’s leadership in the successful 25-year Barngarla land claim, Jonas continues her mother’s legacy. With an interdisciplinary visual background, Jonas explores socio-cultural environment issues affecting Aboriginal people through digital media, photography, paint and film making. Her films have been selected for a number of international festivals, and she has had numerous commissions to produce artwork for national political, cultural and environmental campaigns.
For our first collaboration, Jonas has created Barlarri - Seven Sisters, which follows the Seven Sisters Songline - passed down to Jonas from generations of elders. “I am of this country and I have a responsibility and an obligation to look after it - I do that through my art. Our art is our jukurrpa, our songlines, our culture, our law, ourselves. Our paintings are documents of our land rights, the title deeds for our culture and the land past, present and future. The opportunity to collaborate with Long Haul Spa means that we have a global audience for our works and our culture through Long Haul Spas distribution at airport retail. Chris’ ethos resonated with me - botanical vegan products, local sources for all components, planting trees for kits sold, and treating partners fairly. We connected immediately and the creative process was frictionless.”
The art created for this first collaboration is based on the Seven Sisters that make up the star cluster Pleiades and the journey of the sisters through Barngarla country before launching themselves into the sky. The packaging displays the imagery on the outside along with Long Haul Spa product information. The reverse of the packaging contains the songline and information on the artist.
Indigenous Australians share their history - not through books or reference materials - but through songlines also known as dreaming tracks. Some of these songlines date as far back as 50,000 years. The song describes not only the creation of the land and sea by the Dreaming Totems (animals) but the actions of the ancestors, spirits and visitors, and provide navigation across the land and the sky. By singing songs in the right sequence, indigenous people can navigate vast distances. These songlines transcend language, as it is the rhythm that is crucial to understanding the song. The songlines reference the ancient lands and their creation, and are passed down through the generations as a continuum of the past to the present.
The Seven Sisters make up the star cluster, Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus, and appear in Aboriginal and Greek mythology as well as many other Indigenous people’s mythology.
BARLARRI (Barngarla word for both Pleiades and women), depicts the jukurrpa (story/songline) of the Seven Sisters as they travelled through Barngarla country in South Australia. The Seven Sisters songline has been passed down from generation to generation and is a very important songline for Barngarla women and all Aboriginal women.
The Seven Sisters walked through Barngarla country during the dreamtime. They camped at many places and built shelters and windbreaks. When there was plenty of food and water available, they built more permanent shelters and stayed longer. During the longer camps the eldest sister would teach her younger siblings, songs, chants and inmas (dances) for the Barngarla country. The chants and inmas helped to keep the sisters safe during their journey. The songs taught them about the country and where to find water, food and shelter and how to read the landscape. On the last day of their journey, at sunset, the sisters launched themselves into the sky and transformed into the star cluster Pleiades. They are forever followed by the man who pursued them through their journey and transformed into Orion – the hunter.
Title: BARLARRI - Seven Sisters
Artist: Jonas Dare
Skin Name*: Napangardi
Size: 186 X 100cm
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Catalogue # 046/19
*Similar to a surname, a Skin Name indicates a person’s bloodline. It also conveys information about how generations are linked. Skin is passed down by a parent to their children.