Raising voices through art

22 May 19

First Australian Art has long fascinated the world. The variety of its shapes and features offers a magnificent spectrum which delights the imagination and expresses the deep and powerful stories of each artist and their culture.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers works with over 400 women living on their traditional lands across 350,000 square kilometres, helping women support their families and those under their care.

Fibre artist Nancy (Nanana) Jackson is based in Warakurna, Western Australia and has lived in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands her whole life. The Ngaanyatjarra Lands comprise a vast area of Western Australia (250,000 square kilometres or approximately 3% of mainland Australia) adjoining the Northern Territory and South Australian borders.The region is geographically isolated and an area of extreme economic disadvantage.

Photo Credit: Michelle Young, Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Photo Credit: Michelle Young, Tjanpi Desert Weavers

The sale of Nancy’s art is a testament to her creativity as well as to her ability to make a better future for herself and her children. As the primary carer of her grandson who lives with a disability, Nancy’s artwork enables her to provide financial support and also sets the positive example of a strong female role model for the entire community.

Practical beauty

Nancy creates basket and sculpture using desert grasses harvested from country and creates artworks that reflect the desert animals surrounding Warakurna. In the last three years her income, which comes from these artworks, has increased by 170%. This has earned her enough to pay for a second-had car which she can use to take her family ‘out bush’ to their traditional lands and collect grass for future artworks.

In a remote community environment that is challenged with poverty, her family is thriving with consistent access to food, transport, electricity and housing provided by the income she generates through baskets and sculptures.

Learn more about our work with First Australians here.