Friday, January 13, 2012


Brisbane put on a beautiful day for our trip to the Threads Exhibition, my birthday outing, but despite how lovely it looks, the temperature was close to 40 degrees C (that's around 100 f) and we were pleased and relieved to be indoors for most of the time, but the short walk to and from the train staion was like walking through a furnace.  It was strange to think at the same time last year this city and surrounds was under water and sad to remember the many lives that had been lost throughout SE Queensland.

Brisbane skyline from Southbank

The Exhibition - "Threads - Contemporary Textiles and the Social Fabric" was wonderful and well worth the trip, and there were so many amazing pieces on display, all with their own story, that I've highlighted just some of my favourites.  

 This batik was part of a display from a north Western Australian Aboriginal community.  While some displays had a very clear political message, or documented social and political conditions, others, like these batiks, drew on traditional imagery and cultural narratives while using new techniques and materials. All of the pieces explored in some way the connection between old and new, and highlighted important links between people, places and ways of life.  Quoted from the Art Gallery blurb  " Threads have the capacity to unravel, opening up possibilities for innovation, discord and creative change and the weaving of new histories"

I like that!

Pearl diver's woollen trousers worn under diving gear, embellished with fruits of his labour...pearl buttons. 

Details from this large circular piece, all hand embroidered with motifs and patterns that are symbolic of  fertility, prosperity or protection.  Motifs also depict everyday domestic life.

Lajla liked this one

More detailed.....and humorous....hand embroidery

This is Burrut'tji....lightning serpent.  This batik from northern Australia depicts the cycle of natural events....storms, life giving rain, fertility.

a very powerful image

There was a display of baskets as well.  This one caught my eye with it's bands of striking colour.  It was made by a an elder, a man of the Girramay people from Far North Queensland, from twined vines.  He learnt basketmaking by watching his grandmother as a boy, and now introduces the arts of his rainforest people in a more contemporary way to a wider audience. He is also a passionate activist for land rights. 

This traditional robe from China was interesting.  It's made from plastic and hand embroidered with fishing line.  It represents the contradictions of a rapidly changing society, and the relationship between  tradition and modernity. A revered traditional costume has been made from  "vulgar, cheap, versatile, omnipresent, environmentally unfriendly high tech junk. "  The artist worked on this for nearly 10 years,

The following pictures are from another exhibition : "Across Australia" - celebrating the Gallery's collection of Indigenous Australian art.
Lajla looks a little worried she's about to be lunch!

 These are wooden carvings of 'camp dogs' from Arakun on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, far north Queensland.  Stray dogs roam in packs in most Aboriginal communities, and around sunset they'll look for an "owner", someone to give them a feed.  Usually the Arakun people carve totems, which are sacred to different family groups, so the artist will work alone, but since camp dogs belong to all, this project allowed people to come together and  collaborate and to share their art
These are firestick figures from far north Queensland, made from clay, ochre and plant material.  They were made to carry firesticks from one camp site to another, and the carrier was under a great deal of pressure to ensure the fire stick stayed dry and alive.

 A woven vessel (erkel) from Queensland, made from spinifex grass twined with nylon thread, red ochre and galah feathers.  The photo doesn't do justice to the vibrant pink in the bird feathers.
Inside view

This is just a glimpse of the many wonderful pieces on display.  I might show some more another time.  There were a couple of large tapestries which sadly I didn't photograph, but they were amazingly detailed, handworked embroideries of major events of displacement and genocide.  Perhaps just too raw and heartbreaking to document?  I found all the items powerful and their stories moving, and I loved the way threads and the work of many seemingly disparate hands have woven stories and images we all understand and resonate to at some level.

.............. how spectacular is this?

My birthday finished  in a blaze of colour, with this stunning sky display at sunset

............and since I was now a year older, what better way to recover from the emotion, excitement and exertions of the day than to  find a cool spot with a breeze and have a little rest.


  1. some wonderful images. glad you had a good birthday. just love that last image.

  2. I know the feeling of a long really great day out. Just camr home from (th B'day shop,lunc and movies with GD. I feel like kitty.

    The textile tour was wonderful. Thank you for such a nice view of the threads. So glad it was a good DAY 11

  3. some wonderful pics there, such a diversity of work. and to think that just a year ago that area was under water, thanks for reminding us.
    I love pussy's pose, throwing decorum to the winds!

  4. Deanna, I could do a huge post on all the funny and weird sleeping poses of my kitties.

  5. Ooh Terry, big day out with child...yes! fun but exhausting. Hope you're recovered. Glad you enjoyed the virtual tour.

  6. Kaite yes hard to believe last year where I stood to take the photo was well under water...scary.

    Kitty knows important to keep nether regions cool.

  7. hay where is the photo of you???
    sounds like a nice day out.

    Love Leanne

  8. Someone has to hold the camera Leanne...I prefer it's me :)


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