In the morning we went to the Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Centre. Centres such as this are established to support the local culture across the generations. As well as the more obvious art and craft, it also supports activities relating to ceremony, dance, music, performance, language, oral history, bush skills and traditional cultural knowledge. The local artists of Gapuwiyak are particularly known for their fibre work.
We were very privileged to sit and talk with Lucy Wanapuyngu, one of the more renowned of the artists. She explained to us how they get the pandanus and the dyes and then the process of weaving. The two main things that they weave are bags or baskets of different sizes and shapes, and mats. They are beautiful and quite colourful. They still create them in the traditional way collecting the pandanus and different berries, rocks or wood to create the dyes.
Lucy also showed us a fabulous book that was written about the weavers of Gapuwiyak called “Containers of Power – Women with Clever Hands”. Lucy and her mother feature prominently in this book. She went through it pointing out pictures and telling us some stories about them. Here is a link about the book if you are interested http://www.craftact.org.au/womenwithcleverhands. Unfortunately it was a bit large and heavy for us to get a copy. We are compiling a list of books to get when we get home.
In the afternoon Arnhem Sports started, more in the next post about this.