A big hello from Alice Springs.
This afternoon we visited the gallery of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and saw some wonderful fibre art that was authentic, serious, meaningful, fun and had loads of personality. It’s such an inspiring story that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.
A Little Bit about the Tjanpi Desert Weavers
This is a not for profit indigenous social enterprise that supports more than 400 women artists from 28 remote Aboriginal communities. It’s an initiative of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council.
These artists live in the Central and Western Deserts of Australia – some of the remotest and most challenging country not just in Australia but on the planet. Where the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia meet:
Yet these marvellous women have founded and developed an awesome artistic enterprise with important cultural and economic significance. There’s a long and rich tradition of indigenous women using fibre arts to create objects for every day and ceremonial use. It’s expressive in so many ways because it’s not just about the sculpting and weaving of fibre but also the singing and dancing that are an integral part of the process.
‘Tjanpi’ means grass and the fibres are collected in the communities along with feathers, seeds and other decorative items. Some of the more sculptural pieces also include wool.
Here’s some eye candy for you to enjoy.
I’d like to thank the gallery staff who allowed me to take these photos for the blog. If you want a closer look just click on the photos:
The artist is Yaritji Heffernan from the Pukatja community in South Australia.
There’s more information on the Tjanpi Desert Weavers here and in this super cool book:
The Famous ‘Toyota’
I grew up in North Queensland on a sugar cane farm where everyone had a Toyota Land Cruiser – the rugged versions. This vehicle is just part of Northern Australia.
So I loved the delightful story of how in 2006 a group of Tjanpi weavers from the Blackstone community decided to weave/sculpt/craft a Toyota Landcruiser from grasses they collected and all sorts of found and recycled objects – string, wooden planks, hub caps, steering wheel etc.
It won a prestigious art prize and is now in the Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory.