Elisa Jane Carmichael weaving at the Women’s Wealth workshop, Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre, Chabai, Bougainville, September 2017 / Photograph: Taloi Havini

Women’s Wealth is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Gordon Darling Foundation and QUT Creative Industries.

Women’s Wealth project
Women’s Wealth 2017

On Display: QAG, Gallery 4

For the Women’s Wealth project, indigenous women from Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Australia gathered for a week-long workshop to share their traditional knowledge of weaving, shell ornamentation and earthenware pottery; these artworks are on display in APT9.

Women’s Wealth highlights the importance of creative spaces in indigenous communities, such as weaving circles, where women gather to create and share knowledge. The project also emphasises the way that women’s practices represent strength and resilience in the face of major change.

The Women’s Wealth project focuses on the close connections between the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the Solomon Islands. It explores the value and the role of art made by women as a kind of cultural wealth.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Islands consists of over 900 islands. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is very close to the Solomon Islands, but is an island region of Papua New Guinea. Bougainville is rich in copper and gold, and the natural environment is threatened by mining activity, which has also caused many years of violence and unrest.

Co-Curator: Sana Balai, Project Co-Ordinator: Marilyn Havini, Artists: Sister Theresita Alona, Adelaide Mekea Aniona, Pauline Kimei Anis, Kiria Asike, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Gwendalyn Dava Damusoe, Janet Fieldhouse, Jesmaine Sakoi Gano, Taloi Havini, Josephine Manta Kaepaku, Kay Lawrence, Georgianna Maetale Lepping, Joy Wongatina Pazabeto Madada, Emma Hopuhopu Makusu, Elizabeth Gawa Marata, Helen Dusimoi Miriona, Aida Hilo Pais, Elizabeth Watsi Saman, Imelda Vaevavini Teqae.

Before

Look around your environment (your classroom or your home) and identify any handmade objects. What are they made from? How are they used? Draw the objects you find or take photographs of them.

What skills, knowledge or traditions have you been taught by members of your family? Are there special ways that your family celebrates events? Does your family follow any particular traditions? Share some of your stories through writing or discussion.

During your visit to APT9

Look closely at the artworks on display. Can you recognise unique patterns by particular artists? How do you think each object would be used? Do size, shape and structure give you clues about an object’s function?

Compare

  • the artworks in Women’s Wealth with the work of other artists in APT9 who innovate using traditional skills or knowledge passed down through the generations.

After

Make something handmade from a mass-produced object or material (plastic bottle, paper cup, coat hanger) to give it new purpose, meaning and value.

Consider the object’s purpose, meaning and value. Consider the object’s form and function.

How will you decorate your object? Can you add something unique to the design or to the surface to identify your family origins?

Contemporary context

How do the artists of the Women’s Wealth project:

Contemporary context

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How do the artists of the Women’s Wealth project:

Personal context

  • communicate influences on their life and experiences?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How do the artists of the Women’s Wealth project:

Cultural context

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How do the artists of the Women’s Wealth project:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?

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