McAullay Bott spent many years living in Hawaii in the 1990s where she became involved in the weaving culture. Since her return in 1998, McAullay Bott continued and developed her technique, weaving and making magic from palm fronds by entwining seed pods and natural native materials including gum nuts and tree bark.
From the simplest of baskets, to birds, animals, people – even human limbs (her Hand of Friendship) McAullay Bott brings to life organic materials which have had their day, weaves life into them and leads them into private, corporate and public collections worldwide. Her work reflects her Noongar heritage including the animals and country of her ancestors.
With her Nyoongah mother Rena (dec) as a constant source of inspiration, McAullay Bott incorporates the shape of a seed into her works. Like the kurrajong seed pod that looked like a koala’s nose – and before long a koala was born.
In October last year Janine was invited to be one of a select group of Australia’s Indigenous artists at the Musee de la Civilization in Quebec City, Canada for the year long LIFELINES exhibition where her seminal work My Brother’s Keeper is now housed after it was acquired by the Musee.
The bleakness of the story behind that sculpture does not extend into the joy and spirit that emanates out of most of her work such as Mozart – the musician of the bush (Kookaburra), or The Nutty Professor (the wise owl) and even her red tail Black Cockatoos – which as an endangered species look happy in conversation due to the weaver’s skill and connection with both the subject matter and associated stories.
Winner of the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award in 2009, Janine McAullay Bott has regularly been a finalist in the prestigious Telstra National and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Art Awards held in Darwin in August every year since 1984 and this year is so again.
“Ever since we began representing Janine in 2006 we have been in total awe of her creativeness, her connection to her culture and country and the joy her weaves bring to all from high end collectors to children whose eye’s light up on seeing them” says Anna Kanaris, Director of Artitja Fine Art, Janine’s representing gallery.
“She makes Magic – there’s no doubt about it,” said Kanaris.
Artitja Fine Art will hold an online exhibition of Janine’s latest creations over the duration of NAIDOC week (July 3 to 10) and can be viewed in person by appointment.
Janine McAullay Bott, Red tailed black cockatoos
Courtesy the artist and Artitja Fine Art, Western Australia