Embassy Tapestry Collection

Kimberley under the stars

The artist: Trevor Nickolls was the first Indigenous artist formally trained at an Australian art institute, gaining a Diploma of Fine Art at the South Australia School of Fine Art in 1972. His art is both autobiographical and universal, drawing freely from both European and Aboriginal art traditions, although he had no real contact with Aboriginal art until the late 1970s. His work is represented in an extensive array of prestigious regional and metropolitan public gallery collections, and he was chosen to represent Australia in the 1990 Venice Biennale alongside Rover Thomas.

The tapestry: The painting on which the tapestry is based was painted on an expedition to Warmun, Western Australia in 2002, to visit Rover Thomas's country, Turkey Creek, after his death in 1998. While the painted surface has a definite texture, the weavers instead used exaggerated stepped lines and chunky form interpretation to capture this vigorous, structural feel. They also incorporated a blue-grey and a green-grey into the large areas of black to give the sky movement and depth.

This tapestry was commissioned by the Tapestry Foundation of Australia and supported by the Norman, Mavis & Graeme Waters Charitable Trust. Part of the Embassy Collection, it is currently on loan to the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. Its unveiling coincided with the Washington leg of the ATW's From here to Eternity travelling exhibition.