Yvonne Koolmatrie has lived all her life in Ngarrindjeri country, which ranges from the Coorong, a wetland wilderness at the mouth of the Murray River, upstream to the present day farming communities of the lower Murray Riverland. Koolmatrie grew up in the Riverland and experienced the hardship of seasonal work that became the only means of survival when Aboriginal people were denied access to their traditional lands. Throughout her youth, Koolmatrie saw little evidence of the cultural practices of her ancestors that have become her life’s work.
Koolmatrie began to practice the weaving technique and gradually to experiment with form, extending the range of objects she had studied in the South Australian Museum '...to put my story in my weaving'. For Koolmatrie, the near loss of the Ngarrindjeri weaving tradition crystallised a twofold responsibility: to pass on her skills and to create work of the highest possible standards so that her fibre forms will endure for generations.
Koolmatrie views it as her obligation to retain and refine this technique and to pass the skills she has learnt on to others. She runs workshops throughout South Australia and interstate and she is represented in major collections. Koolmatrie’s innovative interpretations of traditional forms appeared in numerous interpretations of traditional forms have appeared in numerous exhibitions, including her representation in the Australian exhibition, 'fluent', at the 1997 Venice Biennale.
sedge rushes (Lepidosperma canescens) and echidna quills
50.0 x 22.0 x 11.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Gabriella Roy 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Yvonne Koolmatrie
Shown in 1 exhibition
art + soul, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Aug 2010–13 Feb 2011
Referenced in 1 publication
Nici Cumpston, Yvonne Koolmatrie: Riverland, 'Foreword', pg. 14-15, Adelaide, 2015, 14 (colour illus., detail), 83, 148.