Maraana Vamarasi

Maraana Vamarasi / Fiji b.1965 / Ibe Nauri (round mat) 2016 / Mat: woven somo (black pandanus) fibre / Purchased 2016 with funds from the Oceania Women’s Fund through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Fiji abounds in beautiful textiles – striking masi (barkcloth) printed with bold geometric patterns to finely woven mats and baskets, all symbolising a knowledge of place and natural resources central to life. This Ibe Nauri (round mat) has been woven with somo (black dyed) pandanus, a colour and fibre associated with weavings created for chiefly purposes. The process of dying the pandanus which involves boiling and steeping in mud softens the fibre and as a result this black is highly valued and used primarily for only small areas of decoration. With support from the Gallery's Oceanic Women's Fund Vamarasi was able to explore the use of a double weave process to create an innovative totally black Ibe Nauri (round mat). The play of light across the dark surface of the mat, picks up the intricacy and the textured beauty of Vamarasi's skilled weaving.