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Freshwater Turtle

Date: c 1991
Overall: 510 × 290 × 65 mm, 500 g
Medium: Sedges
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sculpture
Object No: 00015875
Related Place:Murray River, South Australia, Ngarrindjeri,

User Terms

    This piece is a soft woven three-dimensional sculpture of a turtle. The weaving technique is called coiled bundle with a simple loop stitch. Yvonne Koolmatrie has extended traditional basketry techniques to create three-dimensional sculptural forms and her marine creatures are based on her own ancestral stories and the lore of the Ngarrindjeri Community of the River Murray.
    SignificanceThis freshwater turtle sculpture is a significant example of the modern fibreworks being produced by Indigenous artists of southern Australia.
    HistoryYvonne Koolmatrie grew up along the lower Murray River. She learnt coiled basketry in 1982 at a workshop led by the senior Ngarrindjeri weaver Dorothy Kartinyeri. Koolmatrie collects sedge grasses from her favourite sites in the sand dunes of the Coorong area of South Australia. The wet environment of the Murray-Darling basin meant vast areas were dominated by sedges and rushes and it was from these that the Aboriginal people selected their main raw materials for basketry.

    Ngarrindjeri are the descendants of the many clan groups that lived throughout the lower Murray basin. They maintain a vital cultural identity today. As in the past, life revolves around the river. It is a symbol of their cultural survival and potential for further cultural revival.

    The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia's largest river system, food bowl and inland water-transport corridor. Its waterways have been contested for generations - from colonial frontier wars to colour bars at local pools, and between farming and the environment itself. Threatened by salination and erosion, infested by carp and algae and depleted by dams and weirs, the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin now flow wearily.

    Additional Titles


    Web title: Freshwater Turtle

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