Tjanpi Basket | Emily Cullinan


Made from desert grasses and raffia by Atipalku Intjaltki

Measures 14.5cm diameter x 5cm high.

1 in stock

Categories: ,


Emily Cullinan was born near Mimili, on the APY Lands in South Australia. Emily and her family lived a traditional Anangu existence; travelling consistently, hunting and collecting bush food along the way and having little contact with non-Indigenous people. As cattle stations were established in the area, Emily came to work in domestic service at the Granite Downs Station. While working at the Granite Downs stationmaster’s house Emily met her husband, a stockman from nearby Wallatina.

Emily, her husband and their children settled in Indulkana, where Emily continued to pass on to her young family the traditional knowledge of hunting, bush foods and water sources that she learnt from her own parents as a young girl.
These days, Emily is a respected senior woman and an established artist who makes beautiful colourful detailed baskets. She also works at Iwantja Arts in Indulkana. Emily’s dynamic paintings are inspired by memories of her childhood, living traditionally on country with her parents, and the many journeys they undertook.

Tjanpi (meaning ‘dry grass’) evolved from a series of basket weaving workshops held on remote communities in the Western Desert by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara Women’s Council in 1995. Building on traditions of using fibre for medicinal, ceremonial and daily purposes, women took easily to making coiled baskets. These new-found skills were shared with relations on neighbouring communities and weaving quickly spread. Today over 400 women across 28 communities are making baskets and sculptures out of grass and working with fibre in this way is firmly embedded in Western and Central desert culture. While out collecting desert grasses for their fibre art, women visit sacred sites and traditional homelands, hunt and gather food for their families and teach their children about country. Tjanpi Desert Weavers is Aboriginal owned and is directed by an Aboriginal executive. It is an arts business but also a social enterprise that provides numerous social and cultural benefits and services to weavers and their families. Tjanpi’s philosophy is to keep culture strong, maintain links with country and provide meaningful employment to the keepers and teachers of the desert weaving business.

You may also like…