• National Gallery of Australia installation of the Tjanpi Weavers work (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The incredible work of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers is part of a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia celebrating women artists.
Delia Bell

9 Oct 2020 - 4:33 PM  UPDATED 9 Oct 2020 - 4:34 PM

The incredible work of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers has formed part of a major exhibition opening at the National Gallery of Australia in November to celebrate women artists.

The Know My Name exhibition is a global movement to promote gender equality in the arts.

The stunning sculptures of the Tjanpi collective from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands of Central Australia will be a centre piece of the exhibition.

Kelli Cole, Curator of Special Projects, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery said the exhibition is an opportunity to showcase the unique artwork from the central desert.

"To have a group of Indigenous artists from The NPY Lands is such an extraordinary inclusion and is a very special opportunity for these ladies to be represented in such a huge exhibition like this,” Ms Cole said.

The Tjanpi Desert Weavers installation tells the ancient story of Kungkarangkalpa, the Seven Sisters Dreaming.

The seven sisters are pursued across the land by a man called Nyiru, or Nyirunya. He chases the sisters up into the sky and down to earth again, intent on marrying the eldest of the women. Eventually, the sisters are transformed into the constellation of Pleiades and Nyiru assumes the form of Orion.

The life size sculptures, set up under a spectacular dome, have been created with native desert grasses.

It took a full week to install and because COVID restrictions prevented the artists from being on-site to help set up the exhibition, they had to direct their instructions via video calling.

“We zoomed them into the space and I would talk to them through the camera and they would tell me where to move things and place works.

"I was having to point around the room and get people to move backwards and forwards, and the ladies would do thumbs up and say, 'yes fantastic job'. It was great.

"There was a lot of giggles and a lot of fun. It was a very unusual thing to do but, in these times, we have to move with these changes," said Ms Cole.

The Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now  includes 300 works, drawn from the Gallery’s collection and other collections.

The Tjanpi Desert Weavers exhibition will run until July next year.  

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