WOVEN Jenni Kemarre Martiniello & Regina Pilawuk Wilson
Harvey Art Projects is proud to present Woven, an exhibition featuring works of two of Australia's leading contemporary indigenous artists, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello & Regina Pilawuk Wilson.
Inspired by fish-nets, dilly bags, eel traps, fish traps and fish baskets, both Wilson & Martiniello’s pieces demonstrate an unyielding determination for indigenous Australians to rebuild and strengthen cultural identity in the modern world. Master glass artist Martiniello and master weaver & painter Wilson, create artworks highlighting the traditional woven fiber techniques used by aboriginal women for thousands of years and have reinterpreted and recomposed these objects from their traditional incarnations.
Contemporary urban-based Arrernte artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello works in hot-blown glass, cold-worked glass and canes. She was NAIDOC Artist of the Year in 2010, and was awarded Canberra Critics Circle Awards for Visual Arts in 2011 and 2013. In 2013 she won the prestigious Telstra Prize for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. Her works are held in numerous public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Corning Museum of Glass and the British Museum. Jenni works from her studio at Canberra Glassworks. She has recently completed artist residencies at the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio in Norfolk and Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Regina Pilawuk Wilson, a Ngan’gikurrungurr woman, was born in 1948 in the Daly River region of the Northern Territory. From the tradition of her mother's mother's work, Wilson paints an extensive variety of stitching and weaving designs. Regina Wilson is Peppimenarti’s most acclaimed artist and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She is represented in Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia, currently touring Canada in 2019.
Both women are deeply influenced by the weaving practices of their grandmothers. For Martiniello, Arrernte weaving practices from the Australian Central Desert were part of her paternal grandmother’s legacy. Martiniello recalls her “aunties” who learned to weave baskets and string bags, but rarely practiced their weaving in the colonized, urban lifestyles in which they later lived.
From the tradition of her mother's mother's work, Wilson creates large scale works which incorporate an extensive variety of stitching and weaving designs — beautifully reinterpreting these traditional designs in paint. Before Regina was a painter (she started painting in 2002) she was well known as a weaver. Regina recalls “In the old days, me, my sisters and my mother used to sit and weave together. All the women at Daly used to weave. And some men. Our grandfather used to make really big fishnets, but when the missionaries arrived they told the Aboriginal people not to make them any more —so we lost that stitch”.
For both artists, their artwork is a reflection of their deeply held honor for their respective grandmothers as well as the matriarchal law that survives within their communities. It is this overriding respect which both artists feel has not only shaped them as artists but has obliged them each to transmit tradition to future generations.
Woven | on view in Sun Valley February 8 - March 10 2019