Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders (OAM) is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning multidisciplinary artist and consultant. An experienced writer, speaker and facilitator advocating for the environment and equality, Kirli creates to connect to make change. She was the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2020) and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2022 for her contribution to the arts, particularly literature.
Kirli’s celebrated books include Bindi, Our Dreaming, Kindred and The Incredible Freedom Machines. Kirli’s writing features in magazines and journals with Vogue, National Geographic, Kill Your Darlings, and in public art with partners, Red Room Poetry, Aesop, and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria.
Her art has been commissioned by Google, Fender, Sydney Opera House and Government. She is currently working on a world pride exhibition at Cement Fondue and developing her solo play, Going Home, and her second Visual Poetry Collection, Returning (Magabala, 2023).


Community Possum Skin Cloak

(forthcoming in Returning, Magabala, 2023)

~ With thanks to Aunty Loretta Parsley, Nicole Smede, Jo and the O&S Foundation & Bundanon for supporting Aunt & I to teach a community possum skin cloak making project on the river. And to all of the Aunties and Sissys who participated in this magical week of making, thank you.

monoprinted ferns
bakers dozen emerald bower birds
wattle marbled on Banggali
like creamed honey 

sore thumb
cherry blossom
and fire weed
beneath shea-oak and gum

a meditation begun
with singing-bowl bees.

the Blue Wren
fluffs feathers
and cleans beak
of insect crumbs 

currawong slinks between
spotted and fig-strangled trees

skips the stones
of her belly
on river skin
within, the marra
rejoice for the warmth of this day 

noting the skies
and with them, seasons
always change,

rays of sun
sling sticky silver linings
on clouds in celebration,
they knead the path
from mountains to sea
and seven generations 

are proud
of the sewing
we’ve done.