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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Syaw (Fish net)



Regina Pilawuk Wilson


1948 -

Language group

Ngangikurrunggurr, Fitzmaurice region


'Syaw (Fish net)' 2004 is an innovative painting replicating the elaborate and delicate patterning of woven objects such as mats, fish traps and baskets. The subtly shifting colours and the repeated pattern evokes the repetitive action of the weaver's hands give this painting a contemplative quality.

Documentation accompanying the painting states:
"Regina Wilson is a master weaver and colourist, who transforms her indepth knowledge of colour, design and layering to set out the dimensions of a painting. From the tradition of her mother's mother's work, Wilson paints an extensive variety of stitching and weaving designs. Wilson's work is highly sophisticated, displaying the ability of a mature artist even though the medium is new.
This painting represents the stitch and weave of the Syaw or fish net. The weaving method is the same as the stitch used in weaving the warrgarri (dilly bag), except bigger.
The pinbin vine (bush vine) grows near the river and is stripped into fibres which are then woven into the net. The Syaw is used to catch fish, prawns and other edible creatures in the creeks and rivers."

Regina Wilson won the painting prize at the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award with her painting of the same subject.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2004




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on canvas


200.0 x 229.5 cm stretcher


Purchased 2004

Accession number


Artist information

Regina Pilawuk Wilson

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Margie West and Kim Barber, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, ‘Dadirri: The art of the Wadeye-Eye region’, pg. 117-112, Sydney, 2007, 123 (colour illus.).