Tasmanian Aboriginal people

Australia 1940 – 2005

Basket [river reed] 1 2002 Description: Cross stitch and close twining stitch
Place made: Bridgewater, Tasmania, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, fibrework, river reed

Dimensions: without handle 18.6 h x 20.6 w x 20.4 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2003
Accession No: NGA 2003.20
  •  ‘The reeds are gathered seasonally from creek waterways and rivers and dried. The weaving I do is twining. These baskets are made mostly by older women, young women as a rule are not interested in this time consuming craft. I have over the last twenty years or more began practising these traditional skills purely for my own creative pleasure and for the purpose of maintaining my culture.’

    (Lennah Newson, artist’s statement, 2003)

    Such early baskets were encountered and recorded by explorers to the Tasmania region in the 19th century. A plate by Leseur in Voyage de decouvertes aux terres australes 1807 contains the main elements of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture: clubs and spears, a woven rush basket, a pleated water container of bull kelp and a necklace of iridescent shells.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra