Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy
Born 1940 and 1955 Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island), Northern Territory, Australia
Live and work in
Yurrwi (Milingimbi) and Langarra (Howard Island)
Sisters Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy are master weavers who also paint their clan body designs in minimalist patterns on barks and poles. They live and work on Yurrwi (Milingimbi) and Langarra (Howard Island) off the northern coast of eastern Arnhem Land. Rarru and Ganalmirriwuy both learnt early in life the deep meanings of woven fibre objects and the techniques to make them. In the 1980s, Rarru began experimenting with the coil-weaving technique to make sculptural forms. More recently, both sisters have experimented with colour, developing a rare strong black from local leaves. This dramatic shift was first seen in the austere, classical forms of mindirr (conical baskets), and more recently in coil-woven forms where the dark, almost metallic, tightly-woven surface becomes a subtly textured field.