Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Daisy Barney, Harriet Bryant, Betty Campbell, Fiona Dodd, Kathy Dodd , Kim Dodd, Mrs Dodd (dec.), Sheena Dodd, Emma Singer, Pauline Wangin, and Pinuka (Margaret) Yai Yai

Live and work: Mimili, South Australia


Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, working with women in the remote Central and Western desert regions who earn an income from contemporary fibre art. Tjanpi (meaning grass in Pitjantjatjara language) represents over 400 Anangu/Yarnangu women artists from 26 remote communities on the NPY lands.

The NPY lands cover approximately 350,000 square kilometres across the tri-state (WA, SA, NT) border region of Central Australia (please see the map below) and Tjanpi field officers regularly traverse this area to visit each community. On these trips, field officers purchase artworks from artists, supply art materials, hold skills development workshops, and facilitate grass-collecting. While out collecting grass, women are also able to spend time on Country and maintain their culture through gathering food, hunting, performing inma (cultural song and dance), and teaching their children.

Artist Statement

Ngura Tjanpi (Grass Country) reflects the shapes and forms found on Country and the tools and equipment made and used by women in pre-contact times, some of which include mina (bird nests), piti (burrows), kapi kartalpa (rock holes), tali (sand hills) and pitis (wooden carrying dish).

The works were created by salvaging metal seat frames from remote motorcar graveyards and using them as free-form weaving frames. The sculptures take on the shape of the frames, warped and undulating. The process of weaving softens the form and imbues the work with the colours and stories of Country and culture.

Acknowledgements & Collaborators

Technical assistance provided by: Em Frank, Kate Franklin, Jane Yai Tai & Puna Yamuna.

Exhibiting at

John Curtin Gallery

JCG is one of WA's foremost public art galleries and curates the Curtin University Art Collection, located at Curtin's Bentley campus.


Curtin University, Building 200A, Kent St, Bentley WA 6102