Tjanpi Desert Weavers (Tjanpi) is a social enterprise of NPY Women’s Council that enables women in the remote Central and Western desert regions to earn their own income from fibre art.
Tjanpi represents over 400 Aboriginal artists from 26 remote communities on the NPY Lands. Tjanpi field officers regularly travel to these communities and purchase artworks from the artists, supply art materials, hold skills development workshops, and facilitate grass collecting trips.
At its core, Tjanpi embodies the energies and rhythms of Country, culture, and community.
Women regularly come together to collect grass for their art, taking the time to hunt, gather food, visit significant sites, perform inma (cultural song and dance), and teach their children about Country whilst creating an ever-evolving array of fibre artworks.
The shared stories, skills, and experiences of this wide-reaching network of mothers, daughters, aunties, sisters, and grandmothers form the bloodline of the desert weaving phenomenon and have fuelled Tjanpi’s rich history of the collaborative practice.
Tjanpi has a public gallery in Alice Springs, occasionally hosts public weaving workshops, regularly exhibits work in national galleries, facilitates commissions for public institutions and collectors, and is stocked in retail spaces Australia-wide
In 2005, a group of Tjanpi artists won the major prize in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for a giant woven sculpture of a Toyota 4WD. Learn more.
In 2017 Tjanpi works were a major feature of a hugely successful exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. Learn more.
A collaborative work between Tjanpi Desert Weavers and artist Fiona Hall was exhibited as part of the Venice Biennale (2015). Learn more.
Tjanpi artwork is a platform for sharing Tjukurpa (ancestral story, law) but equally, it responds to current issues and concerns. Learn more.
Tjanpi (meaning wild harvested grass) began in 1995 as a series of basket-making workshops facilitated by NPY Women’s Council on the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of WA.
Women wanted meaningful and culturally appropriate employment on their homelands to better provide for their families.
Building upon a long history of using natural fibres to make objects for ceremonial and daily use, women took quickly to coiled basketry and were soon sharing their new found skills with relatives and friends on neighbouring communities.
It was not long before they began experimenting with producing sculptural forms.
Visit the Tjanpi Desert Weavers website and Facebook page
Go to tjanpi.com.au for more information, and to see the full range of Tjanpi artworks and merchandise.
Or follow Tjanpi Desert Weavers on Facebook.