String in Brisbane

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I went to Brisbane for work late last year, and Brisbane is really different to Adelaide.  It’s a tropical place.  On day one I found this pineapple just growing alongside the car park of the place where I was staying!  Public gardens in Brisbane are full of plants that require special treatment to grow in a pot in temperate Adelaide, or grow to only a fraction of the size.

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Strap-leafed plants grow everywhere you look.  Which is good, because I have taken up making string as part of a process for being in a place and thinking about its people and laws; more to the point, considering my obligations under Indigenous laws.  I do this at home, but I also do it when I travel. So I harvested dead leaves from various plants, left them soaking in the hand  basin while I was out, and had quiet contemplative evenings twining string.

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I also managed to visit the Gallery of Modern Art, and it was celebrating a big birthday.  This is one of the works commissioned for it, now located just beside the entrance.  It is by Judy Watson (Waanyi people, 2016) ‘tow row’.

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String was a theme (for me) as I wandered through the gallery.  This is a small part of Lena Kurriniya’s ‘feathered bush string’ (Kunjunwinku people, 2002). The string itself is made from Kurrajong inner bark, with bustard feathers.

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This exquisite mat was very nearly black and hard to capture in the light.  Maraana Wamarasi (Fiji, 2016) ‘Ibe Nauri’ (round mat).

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I loved the way the centre had been constructed.

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Richard Gandhuwuy Garrawurra (Liya Gawumirr people) ‘Waistband’ (1999).

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This string is made of bark fibre, and the entire work also uses cotton thread, human hair, feathers, native beeswax and natural pigments.

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This next work drew me back to ‘tow row’.  Its creator is Dorothy Bienanwangu Dullman (Kunjunwinku/Dangbon people) ‘Wollobi’ (standing fish net) (2007).  It is made from knotted sand palm leaf string and wooden struts rather than metal, but gives a strong sense of what is being referenced in the sculpture pictured above.

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I was utterly enchanted by ‘from here to ear’ (v. 13) 2010 by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot (b. France).

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This was an installation taking up a huge room and a soundscape driven by dozens of finches, making their own sounds but also triggering sounds by landing on parts of the installation. I had a lot of time on my own in the room watching the finches and surrounded by sound as they flew, ate, and nested in little baskets. Delightful!

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11 Comments

Filed under Basketry

11 responses to “String in Brisbane

  1. Glorious images and inspiration. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps next time you are up this way, you might fling me a little message and I could take you on an adventure to a mountain! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a good idea. I never quite pull off the natural dyeing while traveling. This seems more do-able.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful show, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to have missed you … happy new year

    Liked by 1 person

  6. India

    although if I were a finch I think I would rather be in the great outdoors…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! These finches turned out to be from a finch enthusiasts organisation who were tending them during their stay in GOMA. So I expect the actual alternative for them was an aviary or cage.

      Like

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