Special exhibit tour with anthropologist, collector and donor Louise Hamby
Join us for a special tour of the exhibit With Her Hands: Women’s Fiber Art From Gapuwiyak, The Louise Hamby Gift with the collector and donor, Louise Hamby. Hamby is one of the world’s leading authorities on Aboriginal fiber art and her gift of 100 objects transforms the Kluge-Ruhe Collection into a global center for the study of the important but understudied field of contemporary Aboriginal women’s fiber art.
Louise Hamby, an anthropologist, lecturer and collector, first went to the remote community of Gapuwiyak in northern Australia in 1995. In the years since, she has amassed one of the largest and finest collections of Indigenous Australian fiber art in the world while studying and meticulously recording the richness of this cultural tradition. In the process Hamby established close relationships with many of the senior fiber artists including Lucy Malirrimurruwuy Wanapuyngu, Rudy Munguluma Bidingal and Nancy Walinyinawuy Guyula.
Hamby says, “Relationships and connections with people and place have played a part in my formation of the Hamby Collection for Kluge-Ruhe. I am an American but more specifically a southerner from North Carolina. I wanted to share my love of Arnhem Land fiber and the people of Gapuwiyak with those from my own country…. This institution is in the perfect position, being part of the University of Virginia, to educate people about Australian Aboriginal people and the significance of their art and culture. The fiber works from Gapuwiyak will play a great part in teaching people about the important role of women and fiber art in everyday life in Arnhem Land.”
Hamby is widely considered the leading academic expert of Aboriginal fiber art and over her career has explored the complex issues surrounding the making, meaning and use of fiber art in the community. Her books, which include Containers of Power: Women with Clever Hands and Twined Together, have become the standard reference texts in the field. She has also curated numerous exhibitions at major institutions across Australia. She is currently a Visiting Researcher in the School of Archeology and Anthropology at Australian National University in Canberra and is a fiber art practitioner herself.