An-gujechiya (Fish Trap)
Maureen Ali learned to weave under the guidance of her sister Bonny Burarn.garra, a highly skilled fibre artist who has exhibited in commercial galleries around Australia since the 1990s. She also learned from her watching her mother, leading fibre artist Lorna Jin-gubarrangunyja, who won the Wandjuk Marika Award at the 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA) in 2013 with a colourful pandanus fish trap.
Maureen has been practicing since 2006. She is Burarra, one of the east-side language groups who specialise in the customary conical dilly bags, woven string bags and mats. She is particularly renowned for the use of mirlarl, (malaisia scandens), a type of vine that grows in the coastal jungle. The use of this vine to manufacture fish traps, barriers and large strong dillybags is unique to this region.
To make fish traps and fish net fences artists firstly get vine (mirlarl) from the jungle and they put it in water for one night to make it soft. Next they start weaving it; they make rings for the inside to keep the fish trap’s shape.
Artists work for three or four weeks on the fish trap. They also make string from kurrajong (burdaga) to attach the hibiscus (bardainy) rings and to tie the conical end of the fish trap. This fish trap is used in saltwater and freshwater.
People also use fish net fences called mun-dirra. A long time ago they would put the mun-dirra across rivers and creeks. In the middle they would place the an-gujechiya. They also used small things like sticks, rocks, mud and grass to block the fish from going through.
People would then catch fish like saltwater barramundi rajarra, freshwater barramundi (janambal), small black freshwater catfish (buliya), bonefish (an-guwirrpiya), and sand bass (dalakan) in these fish traps.
Maningrida Arts & Culture is a pre-eminent site of contemporary cultural expression and art-making, abundant with highly collectable art and emerging talent.
Through their homelands resource organisation, Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, artists turned an art trade that began just over 50 years ago into a multi-million dollar arts and cultural enterprise. Maningrida Arts & Culture supported hundreds of artists on their homelands, more than 20 artworkers, held 20 exhibitions annually, won prestigious awards, and enjoyed the international fame and success that the boom in the Aboriginal art market of the 1990s and 2000s enabled.
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