Author(s): Penny Watson
"Tjanpi Desert Weavers" is a dynamic employment enterprise within the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council. The latter was formed as a response to the land rights struggles of the 1970s when Indigenous women realised they had no voice. Today the organisation delivers health, social and cultural services across 28 desert communities in Northern Australia's Central and Western Desert lands. Tjanpi (meaning grass) began in 1995 as a series of basket-weaving workshops designed to provide meaningful employment. Today more than 350 women across three states are making spectacular contemporary fibre-art sculptures from locally collected grasses. While out collecting grasses, the women take time to hunt, gather food, visit sacred sites and teach their children about "country". Now, fifteen years after Tjanpi's formation, the women have been awarded the most prestigious national award for Indigenous art (for their Tjanpi Toyota) and their lively grass sculptures have been exhibited throughout Australia and in England, the USA and Germany. This book presents a huge range of art works and the environments and circumstances of their making, along with elucidating commentary by the women artists, which has been translated from their various languages.