I spent a few hours yesterday with a bunch of women making a fine mess on the floor of the brand new Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre on the outskirts of Katherine, a few hours drive south of Darwin in the NT.
The Tjanpi Desert Weavers had driven north from their home at Amata in the north of South Australia to spend a few days with their fellow woven-arts practitioners from the small township of Wugularr, an hour or so east of Katherine in the Arnhem Land hinterlands.
Yesterday they spent the day in a public session for all comers.
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The Tjanpi Desert Weavers have a whimsical and very often funny approach to their art and I’m sure more than a bit of that rubbed off on their northern counterparts, where often weaving is more utilitarian.
You can see some of the Tjanpi Weaver’s wonderful work at their website here.
Yesterday the Tjanpi’s whimsy won over the practical.
Here is one local’s interprtetation – using the RAAF’s FA-18 fighter jets, based at Tindal airforce base just outside of Katherine – as inspiration.
Two of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers – Mary Pan and Iluwanti Ken – made the long trip from their Pitjanjatjara homelands to share their unique perspectives on all things woven with the Katherine-region locals.
Their trip was sponsored by the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre which opened in late July. Katherine has for too-long lacked a public performance and cultural space and the Godinymayin Yijard centre will go a long way to filling that need.
Someone else made a tribute to man – and woman’s – closest friend.
And this for mine is a unique combination of a leafy sea-dragon and a bird.
This bird also took flight.
And the kids had fun running-a-big-muck with the hay, pandanus, raffia, wire, string, sedge-grasses and other found and not-so-found objects used on the day.