Selling Yarns 2

Innovation for sustainability



The place to weave: the story of Arnhem Land weavers

Session: Museums as drivers for innovative practice Saturday 7 March 2009 9:05 - 10:30am

Roslyn Malngumba



Innovation for social and culture sustainability can be achieved through mentoring between communities - this is the base of the Weave and Mend Workshop in Aurukun. The project has come about through the financial support from the Queensland Art Council, the Aurukun Bauxite Project and will be documented through further support from Arts Queensland.

The rare elder weavers who participate at the Wik and Kugu Arts and Craft Centre have recognized the importance of encouraging and attracting Aurukun women to reconnect with and reiginite their strong weaving tradition, sustain its transference generationally, and provide opportunities for contemporary development. Mavis Ngallametta a renowned Aurukun weaver expressed an interest in learning how to create woven sculptures during a painting workshop facilitated by Gina Allain. Thus began the weaving of the project Weave and Mend. Three senior Anangu accomplished weavers, acclaimed for their distinguished woven sculptural objects as well as their more traditional basketry skills, were invited to exchange their knowledge and culture with equally proficient Aurukun weavers and other women from the community including high school students.

This project as its name implies aims at weaving together the groundwork for social and cultural sustainability, building upon and sharing of existing skills, creating and sharing of new ones, raising well-being, self esteem and financial independence, creating new relationships with other remote communities.

The recent contemporary artistic and cultural development in Aurukun has mostly focused on the artistic activity of the male artists and their renowned carvings. This project seeks to redress this level of discrimination. It creates an opportunity for retaining and revitalising traditional weaving and culture in the community of Aurukun and the Western Cape York, and to create a pathway where the women of diverse communities will not only share their traditional practices, their experiences and knowledge but also motivate the young ones to participate in a movement that seeks to regenerates the future of Contemporary Weaving in Far North Queensland.

See also: Roslyn Malngumba's biography