New Australian tapestry unveiled in Vatican City
Australian Tapestry Workshop presents new work to the Australian Embassy to the Holy See
Director of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Antonia Syme presented the Australian Embassy to the Holy See with Kunawarritji to Wajaparni, a beautiful new tapestry based on a painting by eight renowned Indigenous artists, on Wednesday 16 November.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni is the eighth tapestry to be completed for the Embassy Collection, a Tapestry Foundation of Australia initiative that places tapestries designed by Indigenous artists on long-term loan in selected Australian Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world.
Created to promote Australian creativity, Indigenous artists and the work of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, major tapestries are already on display in Tokyo, Beijing, New Delhi, Washington, Paris and Rome with Ngarrgooroon by Patrick Mung Mung placed at the Australian Embassy in Dublin in May 2011.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni is based on a collaborative painting by Peter Tinker, Jeffrey James†, Charlie Wallabi Tjungurrayi†, Patrick Tjungurrayi, Richard Yukenbarri Tjakamarra, Helicopter Tjungurrayi, Putuparri Tom Lawford and Clifford Brooks. The artists come from one family group over a number of different areas along the Canning Stock Route, Western Australia and their painting depicts the land where their tribes have come together for generations to trek from waterhole to waterhole, covering the 200km between Kunawarritji and Wajaparni.
One artist explains: "All this waters from that line to this line are all our family trees, where our mob used to go from one waterhole to another, all as one people. This is our family tree this painting." Helicopter Tjungurrayi adds: "They all came together here, don't matter where they come from, they all stayed here."
Antonia Syme said the weavers studied the artwork closely, travelling to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra to view it, creating colour strips and samples. Three of the artists travelled far and wide to visit the Workshop in May and discussed the interpretation with the weavers as part of the collaboration process.
"Combining the weavers' extraordinary skill and the guidance of the artists, this vibrant work has been beautifully transformed from painting to tapestry," says Syme.
The tapestry measures 1.67m x 4m and took six months to weave by the Workshop's weavers, Pamela Joyce and Emma Sulzer. The generosity of the Eldon Hogan Trust and the Jean Elizabeth Ryan Charitable Trust enabled its creation.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni was unveiled at an exclusive event hosted by Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, HE the Hon. Tim Fischer, AC at his Residence on Wednesday 16 November.