Yvonne Koolmatrie | Hot-air balloon 2006 | Coil-woven sedge grass and river rushes | 194 x 90cm (diam.) | Purchased 2006 with funds from Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
b.1944 Ngarrindjeri people, Australia
Lives and works in Maningrida, Australia
After participating in a workshop in the early 1980s, Yvonne Koolmatrie was introduced to the techniques and traditional methods of working with sedge rushes (Cyperus gymnocaulos). The traditional coiled basketry technique was refined by the Ngarrindjeri people of the Murray River region. It uses bound bunches of local sedge rushes to form the foundation of the object, which is then formed in a continuous spiral. Koolmatrie's work transcends the functional basis of the technique and explores the sculptural potential of the medium while remaining connected to ancient traditions.
Koolmatrie created Hot-air balloon 2006 after seeing an international ballooning competition in Mildura, in rural New South Wales. The basket is embellished with variations on the coil-weave stitch and attached to the balloon with plied grass string. Koolmatrie is known for innovative works such as Biplane 2006, as well as for classic eel and yabbie traps and animal forms.
Exhibitions (solo): 'Yvonne Koolmatrie: Eel Traps', The Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, 2009. Exhibitions (group): 'Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art', Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2009; 'Murray Cod: The Biggest Fish in the River', Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Swan Hill, 2006; 'Home Is Where the Heart Is', The Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, 2001; 47th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 1997.