The people of West Arnhem Land are renowned for their fibre art practice. Maningrida in particular is known to produce some of the most beautiful in the country and the world. Maningrida Arts & Culture is based on Kunibídji country in Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. The area where artists live encompasses 7,000 square kilometres of land and sea, and over 100 clan estates, where people speak more than 12 distinct languages. For the people of this country, Country is the centre of their epistemology, their belief system, culture – djang.

In West Arnhem, weaving is women’s practice and is a laborious and physically demanding process. Using natural and locally sourced materials, the women harvest, strip and dry the fresh young leaves from the pandanus palm, before using natural dyes made from roots, leaves and flowers to colour the leaves. Using these traditional skills and techniques that have been shared from generation to generation, for thousands of years, the women artists of the region create objects that are not only masterful but play a important role in everyday life and ceremony.

There is also a spiritual dimension to fibre art. Depictions of the artist's clan and totem keep alive the lore and stories of the land.

In this display Dorothy Bunibuni, a Kuninjku artist from Maningrida Arts & Culture, Dorothy has made a large-scale 2D fibre art kumoken or freshwater crocodile, moeity of the Dhuwa clan. Although freshwater crocodiles are much smaller than their relatives, the kinga (saltwater crocodile), Dorothy has created her kumoken in an exaggerated scale, showing its sacred significance to the Dhuwa clan.

Accompanying this spectacular work is a series of woven baskets from Kakuda and West Arnhem Land artists from Marrawuddi Arts & Culture. The vessels display the craftsmanship and coiling techniques, the result of rich cultural exchange and artistic innovation, and the full spectrum of vibrant colours achieved through the natural dyes the region is recognised for.

Please contact for a catalogue of works available for purchase.

Image: courtesy of Agency Projects.