A play area of repurposed tyres, woven forms, and evocative sound invites children and families to explore, listen, and learn tjanpi weaving skills. A wiltja (traditional shelter) of delicate woven circles offers space for contemplation. Playful yet sophisticated, Manguri Wiltja expresses the aesthetics of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and Polyglot Theatre.
In 2016 FORM initiated a collaboration between artists from the remote Aboriginal community of Warakurna, and two innovative Australian arts companies, Polyglot Theatre and Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Polyglot is Australia’s leading creator of interactive and participatory theatre for children and families; Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a unique social enterprise which enables women across the Central and Western Deserts (including artists from Warakurna) to generate income from fibre art. Specialising in different disciplines, each is internationally renowned for engaging work that represents fresh approaches to the handmade.
Over the past three years, collaborative workshops in Melbourne, Perth, and Warakurna in Western Australia’s remote Western Desert have led to the development of this experimental participatory installation that introduces children to the culture and Country of Warakurna.
“every separate part of the puzzle...clicked beautifully and properly into place once we were in Country. We had been told that this would happen, but none of us understood really what that meant. Intellectually we knew that things would start to make sense, but we were not prepared for the depth of the emotional journey, the journey in understanding, or the power of the relationships ahead of us. In the artists’ own Country, on their terms, things did make perfect, solid, real, and earthy sense”
Sue Giles (Polyglot Theatre)
“we liked working with them, that Polyglot and FORM mob, and playing with kids. My favourite part was building those wiltja in Warakurna and teaching them to build with punu [wood] and branches...we want to keep going [on this project]...us minyma [women] want to travel with that wiltja and go to cities and teach kids...”
Cynthia Burke (Tjanpi artist)
The world premiere of this work is presented in partnership with Fremantle Arts Centre as part of Revealed 2019: the most significant annual event for Western Australia’s regional and remote Aboriginal art centres. Manguri Wiltja then tours to some of Australia’s major national Aboriginal art exhibitions and events.