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Woven Song

WOVEN SONG is contemporary chamber music by Yorta Yorta soprano Prof Deborah Cheetham AO inspired by the Embassy Tapestries. Through this important project Cheetham gives voice to the material works and engages in the telling of First Nation stories. A unique collaboration across cultures, and art forms Cheetham builds international creative communities by performing with musicians local to each country.

In February 2020 Short Black Opera (SBO) and the Australian Tapestry Workshop continued its exciting collaboration to share ‘WOVEN SONG’ with Australian audiences for the first time as part the 2020 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA). Across three sold out performances, audiences sat amongst the ATW tapestry looms, to hear the acclaimed soprano and leading international musicians perform the first three compositions in the ‘WOVEN SONG’ series: ‘Catching Breath’, ‘Article 21’ and ‘My Mother’s Country’. These compositions were inspired by ATW tapestries designed by Australian Indigenous artists Brook Andrew, Nanyuma Napangati and Daisy Andrews, on display overseas in Australian diplomatic missions.

Joining Cheetham and SBO on stage at the ATW, were international special guests tabla master, Pandit Ashis Sengupta (India), shakuhachi master, Reison Kuroda (Japan), mezzo soprano, Angela Cortez (Singapore) as well as Melbourne-based ensembles Plexus and Rubiks Collective and musicians from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. We are delighted to share with you a recording of the performance. Bravo to all involved.

The Embassy Tapestries are a vibrant collaboration between Indigenous artists and the master weavers at the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW) that places large-scale hand-woven tapestries on loan to selected overseas Australian Diplomatic Missions. Since 2004 nine tapestries have been woven and are currently on display in New Delhi, Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Washington DC, Paris, Rome, Dublin and The Holy See. In 2020 the ATW is thrilled to have commenced weaving on a tenth embassy tapestry: 'The Royal Harvest' designed by Kaantju/Umpila artist Naomi Hobson for the Australian Embassy to Indonesia in Jakarta in honour of Arnold Hancock OBE former Chairman of the ATW.

Recent events

  • Performers from Woven Song. Photo by Jeremy Weihrauch
    14 April, 2020

    WOVEN SONG Australian Launch

    Presented as part of AsiaTOPA 2020WOVEN SONG Australian Launch is contemporary chamber music by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham AO inspired by the ATW Embassy Tapestries.

  • 14 December, 2020

    WATCH: WOVEN SONG Australian Launch

    In February 2020 Short Black Opera (SBO) and the Australian Tapestry Workshop continued its exciting collaboration to share ‘WOVEN SONG’ with Australian audiences for the first time as part the 2020 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA).

  • 29 March, 2019

    'Article 27’, New Delhi

    The second Woven Song composition Article 27 premiered in Mumbai and Dehli in March, 2019

  • 29 April, 2019

    'My Mother's Country’, Tokyo

    The third WOVEN SONG composition My Mother's Country premiered at a private event at the Australian Embassy, Toyko in April 2019.

  • 29 April, 2018

    'Catching Breath’, Singapore

    The first WOVEN SONG composition Catching Breath premiered at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay in Singapore in April 2018.