60,000 Years in the Making – A Practitioner’s Yarn-up

14 October 2017, 10am–4pm Powerhouse Museum

A full day of yarn-ups showcasing the approaches and techniques of some amazing Australian Aboriginal women whose work brings traditional cultural practices into contemporary contexts.

In each session the artisans will share their knowledge and provide a window to new ways of thinking about how we can engage with, sustain and re-position skills that have been in development for over 60,000 years.

With artists of the calibre of Vicki West and Grace Lillian Lee, you will be learn about the diversity of uses of natural materials that have supported cultural identity for millennia. Each session will involve a yarn-up with the artist telling the story of their work and their approach to creation with a demonstration of some of their very special techniques and methods. The day will culminate is a star-weave jam – a sharing of the foundation technique for creation of woven work from the Torres Strait.

Registration includes morning and afternoon tea. Lunch not provided.

This event is part of Sydney Craft Week.

Vicki West is a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist of the Trawlwoolway people from the North East coast region. She undertook a bridging course in art at riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education in Launceston in the early 1990s, and completed her Bachelor Fine Arts in 1999, BFA First Class Honours in 2001 and Masters in 2008 (all University of Tasmania, School of Visual and Performing Arts).

West’s arts practice includes large scale installations incorporating multiple elements, smaller scale sculptural works, jewelry, textiles, painting and new media. She draws on traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural practices and materials to create contemporary artworks that explore and celebrate cultural survival in the face of continuing colonial myths of the extinction of her people. In her own words: “we are still here”.

West has maintained a strong local, national and more recently international exhibition record since entering the field – including solo exhibitions in Adelaide, Launceston and Melbourne, numerous national touring exhibitions including Defying Empire (2017) String Theory (2013), Menagerie (2009), Tayenebe (2009) , Woven Forms (2005), Native Title Business (2002) and The One Tree Project (2001). She has also exhibited in many group exhibitions throughout Australia, and is represented in many collections of major institutions including St Kilda City Council, St Kilda, VIC, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, NSW, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, TAS, Australian National Museum, Canberra, ACT, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT, Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, Campbelltown, NSW, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, NT, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT. She has undertaken numerous public art installations including for Junction Festival/ Streets Alive -2010 / 12, Falls Festival Marion Bay -2010/11 and 12, and Taronga Zoo, NSW, 2012.

West was a representative for Australia at the Festival of Pacific Arts in 2012, and is a featured artist in the recent 2013 series of Richard Bell’s Colour Theory on NITV.

West has worked extensively at the community level, presenting workshops and undertaking projects through schools, museums and at festivals and conferences, both within Tasmania and nationally. She is currently the Children’s Arts and Culture Coordinator for Meenah Neenah, an Aboriginal Arts Youth program in Launceston.

Grace Lillian Lee is a multi-cultural Australian artist known for drawing inspiration from her indigenous heritage. Through collaboration with Australian indigenous communities and their art centres she has created a platform for cultural expression and celebration by way of fashion performances. These are instrumental in engaging young people from remote communities and providing an opportunity for them to represent and be proud of their culture and country through fashion and performance.

Among these communities is Mornington Island. As a result of an ongoing collaboration with Grace, the art centre has been able to start a small fashion business titled MiArt known for its hand-painted one of a kind bags.

Along with Grace’s involvement with indigenous communities she is also a practising artist. She uses fashion and adornment to represent her own cultural heritage. She has become known for her wearable interpretations of traditional Torres Strait Island weaving techniques that take the form of body sculptures and accessories. By bringing such techniques into the contexts of both art and fashion Grace has engaged a wide audience allowing her to develop a successful business based on woven accessories, celebrating and exploring her lineage.


$65 General
$45 MAAS Member
$25 Concession

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