Roy says "I am out in the open sea, not knowing whether I am going to get home, but I am cleansed and feed by the drop of rain."
Ilma is a term that refers to open ceremonies performed by the Bardi people and the objects used in these ceremonies. The Bardi's country is situated north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula. Ilma ceremonies are composed and owned by individuals. These men are said to have received the songs and the form of the dances from rai spirits of dead men.
(Extract from Western Desert Appeal catalogue / assoc. with Papunya Tula exhibition, 2000)
Roy receives the stories of his ilmas from his father. There is traditionally a song and a dance which accompanies each Illma. Bardi totems are complex in design and are distinctively different from the more basic string cross designs in other areas of the Kimberley. The Bardi and neighbouring Jawi were a seafaring people who built flimsy rafts from light mangrove poles fastened together with wooden skewers. The people lived largely off marine products and had an unparalleled understanding of the intricacies of the treacherous tides, rips, whirlpools and overfalls for which the Buccaneer Archipelago is infamous. Their Ilma is largely represnetative of the water and its many facets.