CULTURAL STRANDS PUBLICATION
Inspired by the acclaimed touring exhibition Woven Forms: Contemporary basket making in Australia, Cultural Strands is a publication that links together 16 essays from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal practitioners, curators and academics and investigates the warp and weft of Australian fibre arts. Techniques, culture, environment, commercial markets and sustainability are explored.
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Cultural Strands/Woven Visions public program
3 and 4th of February 2006; FORM Gallery and Kings Park Botanical Gardens
Researched and developed by Carly Davenport Acker, Cultural Strands/Woven Visions facilitated a national body of practitioners and educators for a two day public program. Renowned fibre artist and living legend Nalda Searles guided the program. Woven Visions celebrated the opening of Object’s touring exhibition Woven Forms: Contemporary basket making in Australia and mapped the current developments and past, present and future directions of the fibre arts sector.
A highlight of the Program was the ‘meet the artists’ gathering and outdoor weaving workshop: Rhythm Weaves which attracted over 110 artists, sculptors, weavers, academics and curators to exchange and create in the lush grounds of the gardens. The Welcome to Country by Noongar Elders Doolan Leisha and Walter Eats set an incredible tone of honouring culture and country.
The program presented an opportunity for Indigenous practitioners from diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds to enhance their professional development and careers as leaders in the sector. It aimed to inspire participants to explore new techniques and materials, collaborate and create individual and collective woven forms and build new national networks. Whether using grasses from the central desert, pandanus from the Top End, the bush nuts from WA or materials like polypropylene, Rhythm Weaves was a unique exchange of stories and techniques.
The 17 forum panelists came from the four directions, with Indigenous artists from some of Australia's remotest communities and urban artists from the capital cities presenting alongside curators and academics whose passion is honouring the imaginative flights of our finest fibre artists. Panallelists, presenters and workshop facilitators included Kantjupayi Benson, Jean and Lizzie Riley, Elaine Lane, Lydia and Josephine Burak, Emma Davies, Wendy Golden, Lola Greeno, Louise Hamby, Todd Israel, Virginia Kaiser, Janine McAulley Bott, Jill Nganjmirra, Andrew Nicholls, Thisbe Purich, Nalda Searles, Joyce Tasma, Vicki West and Diana Wood Conroy. By presenting Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, the forum explored the partnerships created between individuals, between languages, regions and cultures - the visual expression of these exchanges.
Professor Tony Cunningham, the forum's moderator, brought a global perspective, examining how fibre works sustain cultural livelihoods and contribute to community wellbeing. Presenting alongside him was Dr Dawn Casey, CEO of the Western Australian Museum, highlighting the treasures in the Museum's fibre collection. Three panels, comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and curators, from communities as diverse as Papulankutja in the Western Desert, Oenpelli in Arnhem Land and Launceston Tasmania, illuminated the forum's themes of the cultural energy, creativity and continuity created by fibre artists and the sustainability it repays.