12 August, 2005

Tjanpi Grass Toyota,


A full-size replica of a four-wheel-drive truck made out of grass has won this year's National Aboriginal and Islander Art Award, the most prestigious Indigenous art award in Australia. The work, entitled Tjanpi Grass Toyota, was awarded the $40,000 first prize in Darwin today. The work was a collaboration by a group of women from Western Australia, who call themselves the Blackstone Tjanpi Weavers.

Awards judge Destiny Deacon says the piece stood out because it was art you could smell. "I know it's to do with bloody Toyota and stuff and the brand name, but it's a fact of life in the bush and it's so important for travel, to get somewhere and they usually break down," she said."[This is] a vehicle that can't move either, but it's something you look at which is what it's like... in the bush."It is the first time the prize has been awarded for a collaborative effort.

Speaking through a translator, community elder Kantjupayi Benson says the group worked very hard to finish the sculpture in three weeks. "We worked all the way through the week and sometimes we stopped on Sunday for a short while, but we worked all the way through and stopped on Friday."

from the abc
more about the award

The opening night of the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award is a major dry season event in Darwin and attracts visitors and artists from all over the country. The evening provides free entertainment from Indigenous traditional and contemporary performers in a classic tropical sunset beachside setting on the lawns in the MAGNT grounds. The event, at which winners are announced and prizes presented, is free and includes entrance to the exhibition. All are invited to BYO food and drink.

The 2005 exhibition features 119 works in a wide range of themes, styles and media including paintings on bark, canvas and paper, prints, sculpture, fibre art, ceramics, glass, photography, digital media and video.
more about tjanpi

Tjanpi (pronounced 'J-um-Py') is the Aboriginal women's basket weaving project and enterprise which started in the Central Western Desert region of Australia. Although basket weaving is relatively new to the Central Desert people, Anangu women have always made several items from fibres; hair belts, head bands, shoes from bark and feathers, and hair string skirts or face coverings for modesty and ceremonial purposes.

Tjanpi began in 1995 as a result of a basket-weaving workshop at Papulankutja (Blackstone) community in WA that was initiated by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council. Ngaanyatjarra women then taught their new skills to women in nearby Pitjantjatjara, Pintubi, Yankunytjatjara and Luritja communities in the cross-border region of South Australia, Western Australia and the NorthernTerritory.

Building upon Anangu (Aboriginal) traditions of utilizing natural fibres to create objects for ceremonial, medicinal and modesty purposes, the artistic development of the weavers has evolved over the past nine years, inspiring new forms and decorative techniques. Tjanpi currently represents over 200 weavers who have developed an extensive range of styles, including life size figures, ‘flat’ animals and sculptured objects such as aeroplanes.

This is Tjanpi’s first dedicated exhibition and is a significant achievement for the weavers. The show includes fibre sculptures, ‘flat’ animals and exquisite baskets produced by women across the NPY Lands. As a collection, they create a striking snapshot of the desert community.

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