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Tjanpi Desert Weavers Sculpture: Pink, Yellow and Orange by Martha Protty

  • Artist: Martha Protty
  • Location: Kaltukatjara (Docker River), NT
  • Birth Year: c.1947

Martha Protty is a senior woman from Docker River. She has been a Tjanpi weaver for a long time and consistently produces endearing, lively and innovative work. Along with her sister, Nyinku Kulitja, Martha is a formidable bush woman with exceptional knowledge of country and culture. She is a highly respected elder and has many children and grandchildren. Martha stands proudly beside her sister on the cover of the Tjanpi Desert Weavers book (Penny Watson, 2012) and together are the face of the new Tjanpi brochure in 2017. 

Tjanpi (meaning 'dry grass') evolved from a series of basket weaving workshops help on remote communities in the Western Desert by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara Women's Council in 1995. Building on traditions of using fibre for medicinal, ceremonial and daily purposes, women took easily to making coiled baskets. These new-found skills were shared with relations on neighbouring communities and weaving quickly spread. Today over 400 women across 28 communities are making baskets and sculptures out of grass and working with fibre in this way is firmly embedded in Western and Central desert culture. While out collecting desert grasses for their fibre art, women visit sacred sites and traditional homelands, hunt and gather food for their families and teach their children about country. 

Tjanpi Desert Weavers is Aboriginal owned and is governed by Aboriginal directors. It is an arts business but also a social enterprise that provides numerous social and cultural benefits and services to weavers and their families. Tjanpi's philosophy is to keep culture strong, maintain links with country and provide meaningful employment to the keepers and teachers of the desert weaving business. 

Tjanpi Desert Weavers Sculpture: Pink, Yellow and Orange by Martha Protty

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