Ghost Net Baskets & Bush Dyed Textiles - Groote Eylandt
Anindilyakwa Arts - Gallery 2
16 Nov – 22 Dec 2018
04Local rangers on Groote Eylandt collect lost and discarded fishermen’s nets that wash up on the beaches. These Ghost Nets are an environmental hazard and a threat to sea life, often trapping animals in their mesh. Anindilyakwa women have made an art form out of these dangerous outcasts of the sea. After they are removed from the beaches they would be bound for landfill, but the women have combined their bush dyed and recycled fabric to come up with a creative solution. The baskets that they fashion out of these found materials are a beautiful statement of the power of traditional techniques to make a better world from the less helpful elements in the environment.
The women artists have been adapting their own native plants and materials to make bush dyes to decorate fabrics for clothing, scarves and home accessories. Bernadette Watt gives this account – “A day at the art centre often begins with a bush trip to collect leaves, roots, berries and firewood. The women sit together, often by the sea or Angurugu River and design each garment, carefully placing leaves to make patterns and markings on the fabric before placing them into the dyepots full of the gathered plant materials.” The process has created new dyes by experimenting with plants and other items found in the bush.
These processes are part of a wider goal to maintain and adapt traditional weaving and dyeing techniques and to pass them on to younger generations. Vera Lalara says – “Old People came to Angurugu School when I was young to teach us weaving. We went collecting pandanas and string and dying with plants to make colours. I love making baskets both ways, the traditional ways that the old ladies teach me and these new ways with the ghost nets and bush dyed fabric. It’s important, to keep my culture going for the future.”
The exhibition of Ghost Net Baskets & Bush Dyed Textiles from Anindilyakwa Arts at Groote Eylandt will be showing at Japingka Gallery from 16 November to 22 December 2018.