June 13-26, 2003
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Heritage Repertory Theatre presents five plays this summer
Fiber art by aboriginal women now on display
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Kantjupayi Benson, Grass Basket with Feathers, c. 1997.
Kantjupayi Benson, Grass Basket with Feathers, c. 1997.

Fiber art by aboriginal women now on display

A touring exhibition of baskets and other weavings by Aboriginal women of the central and western deserts of Australia, “Manguri Weaving” will be on display at the Kluge-Ruhe Art Collection through Aug. 16. In addition, Diane Bell from George Washington University will talk about the artwork June 20 at 7 p.m. at 400 Peter Jefferson Place. To reserve a seat at the lecture, call 244-0234.

The exhibit blends traditional elements, such as the “manguri,” a circular hair ring used to stabilize a wooden dish carried on the head, with innovative design, especially in baskets incorporating native grasses, seeds, feathers and recently introduced materials like wool. There is even a woven “sculpture” of a woman making a basket.

The women from the desert regions have long made objects combining fiber and hair-string: hair-string belts, head bands and skirts. They collect materials during trips into the bush.

Basket weaving has emerged as a new art form, with all of the objects on display created since 1995. Unlike wooden bowls, the baskets are not primarily functional. The “Manguri Weaving” exhibit stresses the contemporary nature of these baskets and their importance in providing income and meaningful employment to Aboriginal women in remote areas.


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