Wagga Wagga Weaving Welcome

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Artists:
Aunty Sandy Warren (b1942, Wiradjuri)
Aunty Joyce Hampton (b1933, Ngiyampaa)
Aunty Lorraine Tye (b1950, Wiradjuri)
Jonathan Jones (b1978, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi)
Title: Wagga Wagga weaving welcome
Installed: 2013
Materials: Stained sandblasted glass
Wiradjuri welcome to country by Uncle Stan Grant

Wagga Wagga weaving welcome is made up of a series of hand-stained sandblasted images on the glass walls of the terminal at Wagga Wagga Regional Airport. The images – woven artworks created by leading local Aboriginal Wagga Wagga weavers, including senior Wiradjuri elder Aunty Sandy Warren, Wiradjuri elder Aunty Lorraine Tye and senior Ngiyampaa elder Aunty Joyce Hampton – celebrate the traditional Aboriginal weaving practices of the south-east, which continue to be an important part of contemporary cultural life.

Although the region’s traditional weaving was severely affected by colonisation, the practice continues with many of the objects seen in Wagga Wagga weaving welcome recalling significant traditional forms, such as a hand-fishing net and an emu-feather skirt. Other objects include scoops and baskets, which also recall traditional forms while referencing an airport context: scoops and baskets can be understood as bags and luggage, as they were traditionally used to collect, transport and keep food and materials.

Weaving, as celebrated by this work, is part of a broader Wiradjuri renaissance movement that includes the revitalisation of language, cultural knowledge and nation building. Integral to this work is a Wiradjuri welcome to country written by senior Wiradjuri elder Uncle Stan Grant. Accompanied by an English translation, the text welcomes and acknowledges visitors and occupants of Wagga Wagga as they arrive and outlines the responsibilities of being on Wiradjuri country. The welcome features an emu and a goanna, two culturally significant ancestral animals for Wiradjuri people.

Wagga Wagga weaving welcome developed out of recognising Wagga Wagga’s local and regional history and acknowledging the traditional landowners, the Wiradjuri, paying respect to local culture and knowledge. This artwork was created under the direction of Aunty Sandy Warren, Aunty Lorraine Tye and Aunty Joyce Hampton with the support of Uncle Stan Grant and in collaboration with Sydney based Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones.