palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) artists have come together as a collective group to showcase their art, culture and traditional practises for the first time at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

Their inspiration comes from their old people who created the petroglyph symbols, traditional mariner shell necklaces, waddies, baskets and kelp water carriers, as well as contemporary works, inspired by these traditional arts and crafts. We are proud to share our unique stories of home, culture and survival through these works – some of these cultural practices have continued for thousands of years, others thoughtfully and passionately revived after the invasion of our homeland, Lutruwita.

Featured Artist: Verna Nichols

Verna Nichols is a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist and descendant of the Bunurong people of Victoria.

Verna was born in 1947 on Flinders Island, it was here that she spent her early years growing up before her family moved to Hobart. Verna lived for short periods in Melbourne and Strahan before returning to live in Hobart

Verna pays special tribute to her cousin Lennah Newson for teaching her the art of making kelp work and fibre baskets. Her artworks include traditional and contemporary fibre baskets, bull kelp water carriers and bowls and shell necklaces.

Today, her works are held in collections at the National Museum of Australia, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) and Brest Maritime Heritage Centre in France. Verna was a finalist in the National Indigenous Heritage Art Award 1993 and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2005.

Whilst Verna has achieved national and international recognition in the arts she most enjoys working with her community. She co-ordinated the Women’s Karadi Aboriginal Corporation and Palawa Aboriginal Corporation. For many years Verna participated in the Moonah Arts Centre NAIDOC exhibitions. In 2001 she was presented with a Local Hero Award from the City of Glenorchy Council.

Verna has been a member of TMAG’s Aboriginal Advisory Council, Karadi Aboriginal Corporation, Palawa Aboriginal Corporation, Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council, and is a member of Anglicare’s Aboriginal “yarnin up” Advisory Board.

Verna see’s art as a way of breaking down barriers between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student’s teachers and the community.