Redland Art Gallery, Nandeebie/Cleveland
June to July 2016
Gathering Strands highlighted the continuing significance of fibre art in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and explored the current practices of a diverse number of artists in South East Queensland. The title refers to the many filaments that have been united through these practices—people, traditions, narratives, places—and a continuous and circular relationship to the past. The exhibition presented the work of 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, including a collective of Quandamooka weavers, practicing fibre artists, and established and emerging visual artists.
The journey of Gathering Strands began in 2014 with the welcome support of an emerging curatorial fellowship program from the Australia Council for the Arts. Through both research and an extensive call out, artists culturally or geographically connected to South East Queensland were selected based on their contributions to the field of contemporary Indigenous fibre art.
There was also a growing awareness of a much-needed regeneration of weaving—to support continuance of fibre art traditions. Thus, the exhibition development embodied a clear focus on strengthening practices locally through workshops, concentrating on expanding skills and knowledge of Quandamooka weavers, and creating new work for Gathering Strands.
The specific plant materials employed in traditional practices influence the weavers’ techniques and the forms they create. In the same essence, the different threads interwoven in Gathering Strands have shaped this story to reveal the here and now of fibre art practices. The various themes within the exhibition comprise Shared Connections, Remembering and Place and Belonging. At the heart of this exhibition is the pulse of a strong, living and vital practice, ensuring a legacy for future generations.
Artists: Amanda Hayman, Judy Watson, Glennys Briggs, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Chantal Henley, Donna Page, Evelyn Parkin, Mary Burgess, Carol McGregor, Sarah Wapau, Hannah Gutchen, Hannah Brontë, Sonja Carmichael, Sharon Phineasa, Debbie Presley, Katina Davidson, Rene Clarey, Toni Cope and Alisa Perry.