30 March – 7 June 2023

Nganaṉa ngurkantananyi Tjanpi nyangatja panya Yankunytjatjara tjuṯaku tjana palyantja. Paluṟu tjana nguraritja tjuṯa.

We recognise and acknowledge that this Tjanpi work was made by Yankunytjatjara people. We acknowledge that they are the traditional owners of the land upon which this work was made.

Across the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, old motorcars are laid to rest, twisted metallic and glass shards glittering under the endless sky. When a car is set alight, the plastic and upholstery disintegrate under the flames leaving behind sculptural wire skeletons and rusted bonnets and doors, reminiscent of dry desert scapes.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers gather, prepare and use ‘tjanpi’ (grass) to make spectacular contemporary fibre art, weaving beautiful baskets and sculptures that display endless creativity and inventiveness.

The works in this exhibition were created by the women salvaging the metal seat frames from these motorcar graveyards and using them as a type of contemporary free-form weaving frame. The sculptures take on the shape of the frames, slightly warped and undulating. The process of weaving softens the form and imbues the work with the colours and stories of Country and culture.

Artists in the exhibition include: Bridget Baker, Kathy Dodd, Kim Dodd, Fiona Dodd, Ngilan (Margaret) Dodd, Kayla Gayla, Collette Stewart, Pinuka (Margaret) Yai Yai and Amy Yilpi.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council which encompasses the APY Lands. The Council enables women living in the remote Central and Western desert regions to earn an income from fibre art. Tjanpi represents over 400 Aboriginal artists from 26 remote communities on the NPY lands.

Working with fibre has become a fundamental part of Central and Western Desert culture. Tjanpi embodies the energies and rhythms of Country, culture and community. The shared stories, skills and experiences of this wide-reaching network of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, aunties and sisters form the bloodline of the desert weaving phenomenon and have fuelled Tjanpi’s rich history of collaborative practice.

Australian Design Centre and Tjanpi Desert Weavers present this exhibition of new woven sculptures that apply cultural knowledge and skill with found materials discarded in the desert.

All of the works in the exhibition are available for sale. Download the list of works here.

We have developed an Exhibition Activity Sheet for primary-aged children to use to explore the exhibition. Please download here or visit the Centre and pick up a copy.

In addition to the exhibition works, a selection of Tjanpi Desert Weavers fibre sculptures and baskets are available in Object Shop.

Weaving workshop with Wanita Lowe
Join us for a special workshop by contemporary Aboriginal artist Wanita Lowe to be held in and around the woven sculptures on display in Tjanpi Desert Weavers’ exhibition Mutukaku Ngura: Motorcar Country. People of all cultures and ages are invited to drop in for a short time or stay around for a while and make a small woven work to take home.
When: Saturday 13 May, 12pm – 3pm 
Where: Australian Design Centre
Free event, RSVP here

Symposium: What is contemporary weaving?
To coincide with the exhibitions, Mutukaku Ngura: Motorcar Country and Weaving matter: materials and context, Australian Design Centre presents an industry symposium based around the question, ‘What is contemporary weaving’.

Through a mediated discussion between three contemporary weavers with curatorial experience, the session will tease out the place of weaving in design and craft practice today, with an emphasis on European and First Nations weaving practices and traditions. Ideas around culture, historical influences, conceptual frameworks and the use of materials will be explored through the diverse experiences of Blake Griffiths, Dr. Virginia Keft and Liz Williamson.

When: Thursday 11 May 2023, session 6-8pm and program 6:30-7:30pm
Where: Australian Design Centre (Gallery)
Free event RSVP here

Free gallery tours and times
Make the most of your trip to the Australian Design Centre with our free exhibition tours. Our friendly gallery staff will introduce you to our current exhibitions, gallery space and Object Shop.

Tuesdays, 12.30pm
Thursdays, 12.30pm
Book here or call on us on 9361 4555 to make a booking or register at the front desk 10mins prior to tour time. 

This film follows the process of Mutukaku Ngura exhibition artists and other Tjanpi Desert Weavers on Country. The footage was supplied by Tjanpi Desert Weavers and edited by First Nations filmmaker, Isaac Winzer.

ADC/Tjanpi Collaboration - Ngayulu Minyma Tjanpinya, I am a Tjanpi Woman

Tjanpi Desert Weaver's artist and senior Anangu woman, Tjunkaya Tapaya OAM , was part of the 2018 ADC On Tour exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to make.

For Obsessed: Compelled to make Tjunkaya Tapaya’s work is a self-portrait titled Ngayulu Minyma Tjanpinya, I am a Tjanpi Woman. This work is now in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

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