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SEVEN SISTERS: FIBRE WORKS ARISING FROM THE WEST

April 16 – May 29 2004, Central Tafe Gallery Perth;

The story of the Seven Sisters is an Aboriginal interpretation of the Pleiades star cluster. It formed the core of this FORM exhibition - a story of women’s solidarity under a common sky.

Seven Sisters was the first major survey of a 25-year history of unique cross-cultural practice spanning three decades. An exhibition of contemporary fibre-based art by women artists from Western Australia, Seven Sisters bridged Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, urban and rural experience, traditional and contemporary arts and craft practices.

The exhibition focused on the practice of prolific textile and fibre artist and educator Nalda Searles, who has worked extensively with artists throughout Indigenous Australian communities, particularly within the expansive Western Desert regions, textiles graduates from Edith Cowan University and Nyoongah women from Narrogin. This community of makers is characterised by an intense love of the land, an intrinsic appreciation for their sense of place in the West and a boundless enthusiasm and generosity of spirit in sharing not only the unique fibre techniques they have established, but broader cultural knowledge and understanding.

In recognition of the significance of this work, Seven Sisters was produced by FORM with guest curator Kevin Murray. Seven Sisters was part of the exhibition program accompanying the Textiles Exchange Project’s the_space_between International Textiles Conference at Curtin University of Technology in April 2004.

Thanks to Art on the Move, the Seven Sisters exhibition went on to tour across the State to much critical acclaim and popularity. The exhibition was accompanied by a beautiful publication with essays by Kevin Murray, Philippa O’Brien, Dianne Johnson and Tina Carmody.

In 2006, FORM donated the Seven Sisters ‘family’ to the Western Australian Museum; a significant donation of contemporary Western Australian cultural material that simultaneously references important historic and social narratives that can continue to be accessed by all Australians via the Western Australian Museum Collection.