Here’s a piece from The Conversation that I wrote on the Tjanpi Desert Weavers with my colleague and friend Tiriki Onus:
For over a thousand generations Aboriginal people made no distinction between art and craft. Art was, and still is, a way of life and as much about function as it is about beauty and form. Artistic forms continue to be used to give Aboriginal people skills, knowledge and practical tools to survive, thrive and manage the continent of Australia.
The idea that these art forms should be marginalised as “traditional” and “craft” is a myth that is dispelled by the rise of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers. It’s an enterprise of Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), where more than 300 Aboriginal women from 28 remote communities in the western and central deserts of Australia come together to create their art.