An artwork on paper. A twill weave background with a line of yellow dragons in blue clouds along the bottom. In the centre is a reflected image of pink four legged animals looking at a black, white and yellow chevron pattern.

Savandhary Vongpoothorn , Rama was a Migrant II , 2016 Pigment and ink on woven mulberry paper, 78 x 240cm

EXHIBITION DATES: 16 August– 12 October 2024

OFFICIAL OPENING: Friday 16 August, 6pm


A curated exhibition bringing together ten female artists in a shared investigation of migrant experiences. Sarit Cohen, Valerie Kirk, Maiju Altpere-Woodhead, Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser, Mariana del Castillo, Kirandeep Grewal, Pinal Maniar, Luna Ryan, Monique Van Nieuwland and Savanhdary Vongpoothorn create works in a variety of media that recall their cultural origins; contemplate their transition from one place to another or explore their new surroundings.

About the Artists

Maiju Altpere-Woodhead

Maiju Altpere-Woodhead was born and grew up in Tallinn, Estonia, during the soviet occupation. in the early 1980s she was trained as an animation artist in the local cartoon animation studio ‘joonisfilm’ and also tried her hand at design and illustration. After moving to Australia in 1992 she discovered ceramics quite accidentally through an art course in the local TAFE and was immediately drawn to its materiality and processes, its rich possibilities and history. She has since returned to her roots and has worked translating and illustrating books in Estonian language.  More recently she has worked on commissions as an illustrator for scientific publications.

Keiko Amenomori Schmeisser

Keiko Amenomori Schmeisser, a Japanese born artist, spent her childhood in Germany and in 1979 graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Hamburg with a degree in Textile Design. She has lived in Australia for more than twenty years, dividing her time between Canberra and Kyoto. As a designer, she engages in collaborative commissions that offer a high standard of modern design. In 1995 Keiko attended a workshop taught by a Japanese indigo artist, Hiroyuko Shindo, and became fascinated with the shibori technique. She currently produces large hanging installation works and three-dimensional pieces that incorporate traditional craft with a contemporary art practice. Her work is held by: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT; Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, NT; Orange Regional Gallery, NSW; Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT; University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD and internationally at: Grand Shrine, Nara; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany; Tokyo Technical Institute.

Sarit Cohen

Sarit Cohen is a contemporary ceramic artist creating minimal art that reflects the emotions within. . Homage, memorial, and commemoration are common themes in her work.  Fascinated by the universal concepts of form, mass, proportion, rhythm and structure in everyday life, her work reflects the beauty of life and its fundamental simplicity. She aims to capture an essence that celebrates and refers to post-industrial everyday objects. Her perspective is influenced by a nuanced understanding and knowledge of the Bauhaus and the Decorative Arts movements of the early 20th century and just as important, was spending her formative years growing up in Israel. The use of minimal palette, reduced colour scheme, and simple shapes offer a sense of calm and serenity. This invites viewers to pause, to linger, reflect and feel the resonance. Sarit describes her play with the form of the object as a pleasure that creates the building blocks of ideas for her work.

Mariana del Castillo

Mariana del Castillo is an Ecuadorian-born, Australian multidisciplinary Contemporary artist. When constructing her sculptures and installations, Mariana primarily uses reclaimed materials that come saturated with meaning.  She creates her allegorical narratives by appropriating and transforming symbols and objects. Her tableaux address and question the human condition and the experience of inhabiting the body. This can be seductive and repulsive at the same time. Most recently Mariana’s works move away from the internal landscape of her personal history out into the external landscape of country. A graduate with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) from the Australian National University, School of Art, 1989, Mariana has exhibited widely and her works are in many collections including the Canberra Museum and Gallery, Australian National University, The Parliamentary Group, Canberra, ACT, KDN Group, ACT NRS Group, Mallesons Stephen & Jaques, Barristers and Solicitors, ACT and more. Mariana is currently a Visual arts mentor for the University of Canberra Australian Defence Force Arts for Recovery program.

Kiran Grewal

Kirandeep (Kiran) Grewal is a multi-disciplinary artist with extensive international experience, having completed a tertiary visual arts study in Cardiff, Wales. Currently based in Canberra, she creates wearable art in silk that is free-flowing, colourful and light. The colours and designs she uses are inspired by the Australian flora and fauna and her travels around the world.  The silk painting is all freehand or hand dyed in her studio as she explores silk art and design by combining various dyeing techniques she has learnt during her travels. Kiran uses ecologically friendly techniques to minimise the wastage of water and dyes. Some of the silk designs also incorporate needlework and freehand machine embroidery.

Valerie Kirk

Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art, where she discovered woven tapestry. As a recent graduate she came to Australia and worked in the Victorian (now Australian) Tapestry Workshop and travelled the country to teach in communities and colleges, work as an artist-in-residence, exhibit and lead community tapestry projects. She is an artist and tapestry weaver, writer, teacher and public figure who has made a significant contribution internationally. While actively maintaining her practice as an artist, Valerie’s remarkable capacity for achievement has seen her research Australian Indigenous textiles, direct significant projects, guest lecture on international textile tours and create major works. During 2004-2019 she was commissioned to design and weave six major tapestries to celebrate Nobel/Japan/Kyoto Prizes in Science associated with the Australian National University. Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant, ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, Muse Arts Woman of the Year Award and the Canberra Centenary Community Tapestry project mark substantial success and her artwork can be seen in collections nationally and international.

Pinal Maniar

Pinal Maniar, with fine art textiles qualifications and years of textile industry experience, now practices as an independent studio artist and has a special interest in embroidery. She moved from the USA to Australia and established Idyl Ink, a design label that enables her to combine the traditional art of natural dyeing, eco-printing, Shibori, and hand block printing process. The products are eco-friendly and sustainable. Each piece tells a story and is one of a kind. The entire process is a part of the slow movement and manual: Small-batch printing & dyeing with seasonally available foraged flora which is native to the area is what makes it special. Idyll ink also works with traditional hand wooden block printers and natural dyers in India, who have been printing in the same way it’s been done in India for more than three centuries.

Luna Ryan

Luna Ryan first visited Australia in 1981 from the Netherlands during a journey discovering parts of the world other than Europe. Initially, Luna attended courses in stained glass but after finding the format limiting, she enrolled at Australian National University School of Art Glass workshop in 1987, headed by Klaus Moje. After gaining skills in blowing glass and kiln casting, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in 1990, and received the Australian National University Award. Since graduating, Ryan has run a full studio based art practice as well as conducting field trips overseas and around Australia, including to the Tiwi Islands. During 2001-2007 she was based at Australian National Capital Artists’ studios in Canberra. Since 2007 she has held various residencies at the Canberra Glassworks. Luna currently has a studio space at the Canberra Glassworks. She has exhibited widely in Australia having had three solo exhibitions and has been a regular attendee at major glass conferences in Australia and overseas.

Monique van Nieuwland

Since the 1980s Monique van Nieuwland’s textile practice has encompassed contemporary techniques and materials, keeping loom weaving vibrant and relevant as a form of expression. For Monique, materials, design and concepts are equally important and woven cloth speaks of our past, the present and the future. Monique’s artwork focuses on the environment and explores our ephemeral existence in this world. In 2004 Monique completed a M.Phil. at the Australian National University focusing on The Shroud as a Contemporary Textile Art Phenomenon. She is an accredited member of CraftACT and has been commissioned to create public works for hospitals and weaving for movie costumes and sets. Monique has exhibited both nationally and internationally and her work was selected for the Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial/Triennial exhibitions in 1988, 2004, and 2014. In 2016, she represented Australia in the 15th International Triennial of Tapestry in Poland.

Savanhdary Vongpoothorn

Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, recognised as one of Australia’s leading artists from the South East Asian region, arrived in Australia with her family when the artist was eight years old, having fled Laos in 1979. Her work is included in most national public and numerous private collections. Savanhdary’s work has received international recognition and in 2019 she was the subject of the important survey exhibition All that arises at Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra. Savanhdary Vongpoothorn lives and works in Canberra.