Featured Tapestries

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Diamond Jubilee Project

Work Commenced: Dec 2012

The Diamond Jubilee Tapestry Project was begun in 2012 in celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne and the visit to Australia of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. It has its roots in a collaboration with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (PSTA) in London, which was founded by His Royal Highness.

The first stage of this project was an intensive 4-day workshop in November 2012 for students at Coolaroo Primary School together with educators from the PSTA and Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) and artist Nusra Latif Qureshi. The students were deeply engrossed in their work, and the feedback we received was remarkable. On 6 November, the Workshop was honoured with a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales. After touring the Workshop, Prince Charles chatted with the students and viewed their artwork.

The creation of the tapestry design was truly a collaborative process. Nusra was inspired by her participation in the student workshops, and she also had extensive conversations with ATW director Antonia Syme and senior weavers Sue Batten and Chris Cochius about the interpretation of her artwork in tapestry.

This wonderful vibrant design, which incorporates aspects of the students’ artwork, is rich in meaning. The ochre of the background refers to the red earth of Australia and the vast spread of its land. The spikes of the callistemon are filled with tiny specks of bright colour, symbolic of the diversity of people and cultures. The five red callistemon form the Southern Cross, and the design’s red, blue and white colours refer to the Australian flag, while the white rose— symbolising Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family—and the blue sun refer to the historic and cultural connections with Britain. The completed tapestry travelled to the UK in March 2013, where it was exhibited as part of the Wool House exhibition at Somerset House.

The Workshop was delighted to work with Nusra again, following a previous collaboration on a series of small tapestries. Trained in Lahore in the Mughal miniature painting tradition, Nusra has developed an extraordinary contemporary practice that engages with the rich visual histories of South Asia while incorporating her experience as an immigrant woman in Australia. Widely collected and exhibited in Australia and abroad, Nusra’s work features in exhibitions on three continents in 2013.

This project is supported by funding from Arts Victoria, donors to the ‘Give an Inch’ campaign through the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, and The Merino Company. A related short film by Gregory Erdstein, supported by the Victorian College of the Arts, can be seen below.