Fibre art and fashion

Acknowledgement to Country

The Australian National Maritime Museum acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the traditional custodians of the bamal (earth) and badu (waters) on which we work. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the land and waters throughout Australia and pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders past and present.

The words bamal and badu are spoken in the Sydney region’s Eora language. Supplied courtesy of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Cultural Warning

The Museum would like to advise visitors that this content may contain the names and artwork, by deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In celebration of NAIDOC Week 2018, explore some of Australia’s most renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female artists, leading practitioners in their fields of weaving and shell stringing. ANMM Collection <a href="http://collections.anmm.gov.au/en/objects/details/194327/woven-skirt-from-galiwinku-elcho-island?ctx=d12c6e42-85eb-4b31-a5bd-868c52b51de0&idx=0">00054382</a>. Image: © Rosemary Gamajun Mamuniny/Copyright Agency, 2018.

In celebration of NAIDOC Week 2018, explore some of Australia’s most renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female artists, leading practitioners in their fields of weaving and shell stringing. Detail of ANMM Collection 00054382. Image: © Rosemary Gamajun Mamuniny/Copyright Agency, 2018.

Because of her, we can!

This year’s NAIDOC week theme is ‘Because of her, we can!’, which celebrates the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and to our nation. For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried our dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge that have kept our culture strong and enriched us as the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

A new exhibition, Unbroken Lines of Resilience: feathers, fibre, shells, brings together some of Australia’s most renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female artists, leading practitioners in their fields of weaving and shell stringing. Their innovative works highlight the unbroken practices of our First Nations women and their deep cultural connections and knowledge systems. These practices include harvesting and processing organic and contemporary fibres, feathers and shells to create intricate bodywear for adornment.

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NAIDOC week: unlock water and Indigenous People

NAIDOC week with the ANMM via the Virtual Classroom. Image: ANMM.

NAIDOC week with the ANMM via the Virtual Classroom. Image: ANMM.

A virtual excursion suitable for students in Years 3 to 6

To celebrate NAIDOC week, Indigenous Programs Manager Donna Carstens and special guest Uncle Terry will discuss the cultural significance of water to Indigenous people.

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Celebrating NAIDOC week 2015 – Michael Cook’s Undiscovered

Photograph by Michael Cook titled Undiscovered

Undiscovered #4, © Michael Cook, ANMM Collection

The Australian National Maritime Museum is celebrating NAIDOC Week 2015 with the launch of our new exhibition Undiscovered, a collection of 10 photographic prints by renowned Aboriginal artist Michael Cook. This year’s NAIDOC theme is “we all stand on sacred ground”, so we feel that it is very fitting to see the photographic works set on the shore (sacred ground).

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Black Sailors – Indigenous service in the navy during WWI?

Black Sailors on HMAS Geranium in 1926.  National Library of Australia

Black Sailors on HMAS Geranium in 1926. From an album compiled by crew member Petty Officer A A Smith. National Library of Australia nla.pic-an23607993

NAIDOC Week (celebrating National National Aborigines and Islanders Day) is held every second week in July. The NAIDOC theme for 2014 is ‘Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond.’ The theme honours all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country.

While we are starting to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who fought as Black Diggers during World War I, what do we know of any Indigenous sailors?

The image above shows Aboriginal sailors on HMAS Geranium when it was conducting a mapping survey of waters across the north and west of Australia in 1926. They may well have been recruited for their intimate knowledge of the area. The title ‘Black Watch’ – while a reference to the famous Scottish regiment – may also refer to their role and skills in surveillance. Continue reading

My Special Place – School students meet Saltwater Visions

One of the education programs for primary and junior high school students at the Australian National Maritime Museum is called ‘My Special Place’. This Visual Arts program focuses on the artist’s use of cultural and personal symbols to communicate a sense of place.

Students with teacher guide in gallery with Indigenous barks and artworks

Students in the museum’s Eora gallery during the My special place schools program

While the Saltwater Visions NAIDOC week display of ten bark paintings from the museum’s Saltwater Collection is on display in the Tasman Light Gallery, the museum’s teacher guides take groups of students and begin their session by sitting them down in front of the barks. Continue reading

NAIDOC Week harbour tour

Clarke island view

On Sunday July 7 – while surfers braving the winter waters at Bondi were surprised by a southern right whale just metres from the shore – a group of Australian National Maritime Museum members were taking a cruise on Sydney Harbour aboard the Mari Nawi. It was one of those glorious sunny winter days when Sydney Harbour literally sparkles in its magnificence.

The members tour was organised as part of the museum’s NAIDOC week activities. We first met at the Tasman Light gallery in the museum and had a look at the Saltwater Barks on display. Then we were met by the crew of the Mari Nawi at the museum wharves and set off towards Clarke Island.

The Mari Nawi at Clarke Island

The Mari Nawi at Clarke Island. Photograph Kym Smith

Mari Nawi means ‘big canoe’ in the Sydney Aboriginal language. It was a term given by the Sydney locals to the vessels of the first Fleet when they arrived in Sydney in 1788. This modern day Mari Nawi is run by the Tribal Warrior Association, who conduct Indigenous focused educational tours of Sydney Harbour, as well as run training and mentoring programs for Indigenous youth.

The guys from Tribal Warrior were prominent in the museum’s Nawi conference in May 2012. One of their bark canoes – nawi – that was a stunning sight being paddled across Darling Harbour with a fire lit aboard at night, sits proudly atop the Mari Nawi.

Glen Doyle performs a welcome dance on Clarke Island

Glen Doyle performs a welcome dance on Clarke Island. Photograph Kym Smith

On the way to Clarke Island Glen Doyle gave the members a wonderful talk about Sydney Harbour’s Indigenous history. He pointed out Bennelong’s famous headland and told us the Gadigal name for Circular Quay – Warrang. He talked about the skills of Aboriginal women fishing from their nawi in the harbour and many other stories of of the traditional owners of Sydney.

We disembarked at Clarke Island – part of the Sydney Habour National Park – and Glen took us on a tour around the island pointing out some native plants and trees and their uses. He then performed several dances and we returned to Darling Harbour. The members I spoke with were all raving about what an enjoyable trip and a great learning experience it was and asking when we could organise another one!

Photograph by Kym Smith

Saltwater Visions

Every small bit of sea has a name
– Djambawa Marawili

During National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June), after extensive negotiations between Traditional Owners and the Federal and Northern Territory governments, it was announced that about 4000 square kilometres of ocean was added to the Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area in North East Arnhem Land.

The Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area was originally declared in November 2000. It covered an area of coastline and hinterland country on the western edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria –  part of the traditional lands of the Yolŋu people. Importantly, a large area of sea country is now included. Continue reading