Traditional First Nations fibre craft showcased at WPCC

Local weaver and cultural artist DandalooSu has spent the past 20 years drawing on traditional cultural weaving practice and knowledge associated with native flora and fibre crafts.

Her experience allows her to produce works that explore the environmental impacts of Western agricultural practices on the Australian landscapes and waterways; in particular the Gilgais (small watering holes).

The latest HomeGround exhibition at Western Plains Cultural Centre (WPCC), Decolonise, explores the connection, deep love and passion for native fibre crafts DandalooSu has; which she attributes to her mother’s heritage that has nurtured in her arts practice.

The Wellington-based artist harvests her own sedge (an aquatic native grass) and incorporates numerous materials based on accessibility, highlighting her practice as being a liveable art.

“The works featured in Decolonise are imbued with deep cultural significance beyond the practical, as the art of weaving native fibres facilitates a connection across the generations of First Nations people who have and are still living along the river country,” said WPCC HomeGround Curator Mariam Abboud. “The featured body of work reflects DandalooSu family’s storyline, connecting the present with her ancestral past, embedded with her knowledge of the waterways, plants and grasses on her country.”

DandalooSu said the exhibition has given her the opportunity to drawn awareness to the environment impacts such as flooding and droughts through harvesting and collection natural resources to produce her body or work.

“As a sixties baby I can remember the word quondong fading from the vocabulary of generations who have come after me. It appears today the word quondong is regaining value with the commercialisation of the bush tucker industry,” she said. “Maybe Decolonise can influence the use of the word Gilgai’s popularity again to increase community understanding of water quality, river flows and water storage.”

Decolonise is exhibiting at the WPCC until 26 February 2023.

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