Tjanpi Recent Achievements

Manguri Wiltja
FORM and Polyglot Theatre 2017 - 2019
Manguri Wiltja saw Tjanpi teaming up with Western Australian cultural organisation FORM and Melbourne-based children’s theatre company Polyglot Theatre to create a body of new interactive work celebrating life in remote Aboriginal communities with young audiences around the country. The result is a performative and interactive installation for children and families that is scheduled to premiere in 2019 with a national tour to follow.

Ngayuku Papa: Tiny and Ngayuku Papa: Bluey and Big Boy
Animations in collaboration with Jonathan Daw 2017 - 2018
Across 2017 and 2018 Tjanpi artists in Warakurna collaborated with animator Jonathan Daw to create two short films featuring stop-motion animation and live action video. Both telling the tale of the special role that dogs play in remote community life, these films have been shown at Revealed (Fremantle WA), Desert Mob (Alice Springs NT), Melbourne International Animation Festival, and the Remote Indigenous Media Festival (Irrunytju WA).

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters
National Museum of Australia 2017
Attempting to tell an Indigenous founding narrative by using Indigenous ways of passing on knowledge within an exhibition space, this project was inspired by an investigative collaboration between senior custodians of Martu country and APY and Ngaanyatjarra lands. Focused artist camps took place with Tjanpi Desert Weavers and the resulting works are a major feature of the exhibition and have been purchased by the National Museum of Australia.

Sappers & Shrapnel: contemporary art and the art of the trenches
Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016 – 2017
Curator: Lisa Slade
Sappers & Shrapnel was a contemporary art exhibition and coinciding book of essays inspired by the art form known as trench art. Works by Tjanpi Desert Weavers artists Rene Wanuny Kulitja, Judy Ukampari ­­­­Trigger, Erica Ikungka Shorty, Lucille Armstrong, Mary Katajuku Pan, Janet Inyika, Niningka Lewis and Freda Teamay were featured in the exhibition, and an essay by curator Lisa Slade focused on the work of Tjanpi Desert Weavers and artist Fiona Hall.

Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars
Hazelhurst Gallery (NSW) 2016
Curator: Carrie Kibbler
Nganampa Kilpil: Our Stars was the first major survey exhibition from the artists of the APY Lands. Tjanpi Desert Weaver’s contribution, Punu Kutjara (Two Trees), was a collaborative work by 38 artists from communities stretching across the APY Lands. The conception of the work and the central trees were developed by senior artists in Amata and Pukatja communities. The animals, birds, and bush tucker were developed by artists from Pipalyatjara, Kalka, Fregon, Mimili and Iwantja communities. The work as a whole reflects the vast and abundant country with the trees being the spirit of life.

Tjukurpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories), Kuka Irititja
56th International Art Exhibition 2015, Venice Biennale
Curator: Linda Michael
Kuka Irititja is a collaborative work between Tjanpi Desert Weavers and Fiona Hall that was exhibited as part of Fiona Hall’s exhibition, Wrong Way Time at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale. Extending on Tjanpi Desert Weavers’ history of making animals in local grasses and other materials, and her own explorations about the effects of colonisation, Fiona suggested they work together to make endangered or extinct animals from the desert region. The women drew upon their intimate and intricate relationship with animals that is embedded in the interrelatedness of people, place, story, ancestral and lived experience they call Tjukurrpa (Dreaming), and arising from their knowledge of hunting, tracks and animal behaviour – including that of the predatory feral cat.

Tjukurrpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories), Kuka Irititja (Animals from another time) and Alkuwari
TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2014
New work commissioned by the TarraWarra Museum of Art for the 2014 Biennial Whisper in My Mask. Curators: Natalie King and Djon Mundine. 
An artist camp was held over two weeks in June 2014 near Pilakatilyuru which is close to Irrunytju (Wingellina) in Western Australia. Guest artist Fiona Hall collaborated with Tjanpi Desert Weavers to create Kuka Iritija (Animals from another time), whilst Tjanpi Desert Weavers also made a separate body of work titled Alkuwari. The works were displayed together at the TarraWarra Museum of Art, collectively titled Tjukurrpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories).

Art and Australia: Ilkari Muna Manta, Sky and Country
Article written by Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton, Issue 51.4 – 2014
“My name is Nyurpaya Kaika Burton. I am an artist. I paint on canvas and make tjanpi grass sculptures, and I have also recently diversified into writing and recording on paper the culture that informs my art.  One of my recent grass sculptures was Old Man Eagle, made as part of the 2011 collaborative installation Paarpakani (Take Flight), once I’d finished making him, I decided to document the way I go about weaving a Tjanpi sculpture.” Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton

Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton has travelled extensively to a number of high-profile public events to speak about her arts practice and Tjanpi Desert Weavers.

Healing Ways: Dax Symposium Keynote Address | September 2014
The Art with Intent Symposium seeks to explore contemporary Indigenous arts practice as a means of healing and a resource for emotional well-being.

Desert Mob Symposium, Araluen Cultural Precinct | 2013
The Desert Mob Symposium brings together Desart member art centres with special guests for a day of inspiring stories and remarkable projects.

Same but Different – Experimentation and Innovation in Desert Arts
April 2012
Same but Different is a one-day forum exploring new and innovative art practices emerging from the Central and Western Deserts.

Art + Soul Series 2
Screen Australia and Hibiscus Films.
Developed in 2013. Broadcast on ABC in 2014.
Art + Soul Series 2 focused on a diverse group of outstanding contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists revealing to pre-eminent curator, Hetti Perkins, how their art practice is driven by culture and heritage, political and personal preoccupations, and dreams and imagination. In 2013 Hetti Perkins and the Art + Soul crew visited a bush workshop with the Tjanpi Desert Weavers near the community of Amata (SA). The purpose of their visit was to document their stories regarding their art practice.

Tjanpi Minyma, Tjanpi Punu
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 2013
Curator: Glenn Barkley
Tjanpi Desert Weavers was commissioned to create a work for Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as a part of their exhibition titled string theory: Focus on contemporary Australian art.  The exhibition brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia who work with expanded notions of textile and craft-based traditions.  A series of dedicated artist camps were held in bush locations near Amata (SA), Kaltukatjara/Docker River (NT) and Warakurna (WA) to create new work for this exhibition. Four major bodies of work were completed drawing on Tjukurrpa stories united by the common theme of trees.

Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Advancement
September 2012
The Deadly Award provides a wonderful recognition of the many economic, cultural, social, artistic, and health benefits that Tjanpi brings to the women of this region and demonstrates how much Tjanpi is valued across the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara Lands. The award was presented to Andrea Mason, coordinator of Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, on behalf of all Tjanpi artists.

Paarpakani (Take Flight) in Deadly: In Between Heaven and Hell
Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide 2012
Curators: Fulvia Mantelli and Renee Johnson
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute commissioned Tjanpi Desert Weavers to create a major work to exhibit alongside seven other leading Australian artists and collectives.  Senior artists from Ernabella (SA) and Amata (SA) came together in a dedicated artist camp to create a work inspired by a painting of an eagle clutching its prey by contributing artist Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken and informed by the landscape surrounding the artist camp. Paarpakani (Take Flight) was acquired by the South Australian Art Gallery.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers Book and Tjanpi Mini Book
Researched 2008 – 2011. Launched 2012.
Funded by The Balnaves Foundation, this project consisted of two components; appropriately archiving and documenting Tjanpi cultural material so that it was well-preserved and accessible, thereby promoting cultural vitality, and developing and publishing a book to tell and celebrate the story of Tjanpi and the desert weaving movement, thereby raising Tjanpi’s profile and affirming desert weaving’s place and status within the contemporary and Indigenous arts sectors and industries.  This resulted in a book detailing the history of Tjanpi Desert Weavers and a mini book consisting of a collection of images.

Gold Coast City Art Gallery, 2011. National touring exhibition, 2012.
KURU ALALA Eyes Open showcased new work generated as a result of a series of bush trips and artist camps held on country near Young’s Well, Kuruala and Umutju homeland from 2008 to 2009. Contemporary installation artists Maria Fernanda Cardoso and Alison Clouston visited the Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara Lands respectively to spend time on country with fibre artists from Tjanpi Desert Weavers and to collaborate on the development of an exhibition.  The aim was to stimulate greater awareness and insight into concepts of culture, country and community.

Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award
Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory 2005
Tjanpi Toyota was awarded the major prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. This was the first time a contemporary fibre art piece took the major prize in the history of this prestigious award.  The work was created by 18 women from Papulankutja/Blackstone (WA) and was acquired by the Museum and Art Gallery NT as part of their permanent collection.