Courtney Armstrong

Tjanpi Desert Weavers


Shapes in Country

Medium: Wangunu (native grass), found metal car seat frames, raffia

L150cm x W67cm x H5cm

This series of hanging fiber sculptures were created by weaving native grass onto found metal frames, salvaged from the remains of burnt out motorcars. The works sometimes reference shapes and forms found on country and in the tools and equipment made and used by women in pre-contact times. Forms such as mina (bird nests), kapi kartalpa (rock holes), wira (digging bowls), manguri (a ring used by women for carrying heavy loads on their heads) and piti (a wooden carrying dish).  This resourceful design concept was born out of the 2021 Desert Mob collection titled Shapes From Country which was produced by Mimili artists and facilitated by Creative Development Officer Emma Franklin. Since that project, Mimili ladies have been busy angle-grinding car seat frames out of discarded cars themselves, using them as free-form weaving frames and sharing their knowledge with one another. The ladies have been so thorough and enthusiastic in their frame collecting that discarded cars in and around Mimili are now completely stripped of these parts!