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Yvonne Koolmatrie

1944

Yvonne Koolmatrie was born in Wudinna on the central Eyre Peninsula of South Australia and has lived all her life in Ngarrindjeri country, from the wetland wilderness of the Coorong at the mouth of the Murray River upstream to the farming communities of the lower Murray Riverland.

She was taught weaving skills during a workshop given by the traditional elder, Dorothy Kartinyeri in 1982, learning techniques and traditional methods of working with sedge rushes. The traditional coiled basketry technique was refined by the Ngarrindjeri people of the Murray River region, and Koolmatrie's work explores these techniques and the sculptural potential of the medium even further, while remaining inspired by and connected to ancient traditions.

Koolmatrie achieves her elegant reed woven fish traps through an interpretation of traditional techniques and design. Tools and stories of her Ngarrindjeri people will often be found interspersed within her works. Her works of basket weaving have been collected by most major national cultural institutions. She also represented Australia in the 1997 Venice Biennale.