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Updated: 27 April 2015
Basket made of minarri grass and wool. Coiled, round basket with flat base (red, blue, yellow, purple, pink and green wool in horizontal decoration).
- 2010 (likely)
- Made in: Western Australia
- (Oceania,Australia,Western Australia)
- Width: 29 centimetres
- Depth: 29 centimetres
- Height: 16 centimetres
Information from Martumili Artists:
'Baskets are made by Martu women who live in communities to the east of Newman, including Punmu, Kunawarritji, Parnngurr and Jigalong, as well as in Newman Parnpajinya and Irrungadji (Nullagine). This style of coiled basketry was developed in the Western Desert in the 1990s and taken up by Martu women around 1999. Leading Martu fibre arts practitioner Nola Taylor says that basket weaving was so popular amongst Martu women that it "spread across the desert like a waru (fire)".
The baskets are primarily made from minarri grass (Amphipogon caricinus), which the women collect when they travel across their homelands to visit family, attend ceremonies, look after country and gather bush tucker. Each basket is built up through wrapping fine bundles of grass in brightly coloured wool and then stitching each round on to the previous one.
Martu women have developed a distinctive style of basketry and individual artists continue to develop new designs and incorporate novel materials (including steel, wire and wood) into their work.'Traditionally, people living in the arid region of Central Australia rarely made baskets, but used wooden and bark containers. They did not have access to the wide range of suitable plant fibres found in other parts of the continent, in particular by rivers and along wetter coastal areas. Coiling was first introduced to these communities through workshops in the 1990s. Women use grass to make ‘bundles’ – in which fibres are wrapped and stitched together in an ascending coil using materials such as wool and raffia. The technique led to a creative explosion.
2011 26 May – 11 Sep, London, BM, "Baskets and Belonging: Indigenous Australian Histories"
Purchased from Martumili Artists in March 2011, towards the 2011 British Museum exhibition 'Baskets and Belonging'.
Africa, Oceania & the Americas
- 11-69 (arts centre reference number)
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Object reference number: EOC119139
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