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Fish traps 2004 | Twined pandanus palm leaf (Pandanus spiralis) with natural dyes and bark string | Purchased 2004. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Queensland Art Gallery

Maningrida artists ‘Fish traps’ 2004

The Maningrida artists are: Sally Garrimarra, Lorna Jin-Gubarangunyja, Shirley Malgarrich, Mary Nalmakarra, Agnes Wilinggirra

Pandanus fish traps are made by artists who live in and around Maningrida in north-central Arnhem Land. The Maningrida Aboriginal community occupies an area of 10,000 square kilometres, with many outlying communities where artists live. Since the first craft outlet was set up in 1967, the cultural diversity of the region has contributed to the artists’ reputation for innovative, vibrant bark paintings, wooden sculptures and fibre works, ambitious in both scale and vision. Nets and traps used by Aboriginal people to capture fish, animals and birds for food may be made from pandanus palm leaf, bark fibre, sand palm leaf, jungle vine or sedge grass and be tightly or loosely woven, depending on location, purpose and the materials at hand. The fish are dyed using local bark and root chips, with white ashes added to create subtle colour variations. They are typically cone-shaped, with a woven funnel stitched inside the mouth to help retain the captured fish. The makers of these innovative pieces have injected new life into an ancient tradition— utility, craft and art are perfectly united. They float comfortably between net, trap, basket and sculpture; the past becomes the present, and the present evokes the past.

Categories: Artist, Exhibition

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