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CONCEPT Original woven fish trap from Maningrida, NT, Australia 
CLIENT National Gallery of Australia
ARCHITECT PTW Architects, Andrew Andersons AM
CURATORIAL NGA, Franchesca Cubillo
DESIGN UAP Studio, Jamie Perrow
CONSTRUCTION UAP Workshop ENGINEER Birzulis Structural Engineers | Robert Bird Group Engineers
YEAR 2010

Urban Art Projects (UAP) was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to translate a woven indigenous artefact from the Gallery’s collection into a large scale suspended installation.

The fish trap is a traditional tool made by members of the Maningrida Aboriginal community in Australia’s Northern Territory. UAP’s design team travelled to Maningrida to meet with community elders for mutual knowledge sharing so that a respectful translation of distinctive weaving methods could be developed for casting in aluminium.

The final installation measuring 12 metres in length will be suspended inside the second atrium of the NGA’s new main entrance, a wing devoted entirely to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Recognising traditional origins in the context of contemporary architecture, the installation is the focal point in the visitor’s entry to the gallery and has multiple vantage points from the second storey walkway.

Not unlike the humble tool of its origin, the fish trap functions to draw visitors in and guide them through the gallery as they become immersed in the wider collection.

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The coastal town of Maningrida has a population of 2600 and lies on the estuary of the Liverpool River, located approximately 400 km east of Darwin in North East Arnhem Land. The Kunibídji people are the traditional landowners of this country. The name Maningrida is an Anglicised version of the Kunibídji name Manayingkarírra, which comes from the phrase 'Mane djang karirra', meaning 'the place where the dreaming changed shape'.

Maningrida Arts & Culture is one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal artist’s co-operatives. It concentrates on the marketing of traditional and contemporary arts, including bark paintings, wooden sculpture, fibre craft, prints and items of material culture.