Gulayí [Woven Vessel] at The Mill

Gulayí [Woven Vessel] at The Mill

Exploring body adornment and storytelling, Gulayí [Woven Vessel] embeds artist Chantal Henley’s connection to her Grandmother’s country and her own experience as a mother into her latest solo exhibition. Presented as part of Tarnanthi 2023, the exhibition will showcase Henley’s multidisciplinary practice of storytelling through her use of textiles, film and music.

“I grew up in a very creative family, a family of storytellers. I’ve always felt connected to body adornment and textiles, it’s been a way that I’ve been able to express myself as a woman and as a mother,” Chantal says.

“This body of work is called Gulayí, which translates in my grandmother’s language, Jandai, to woven vessel. It’s about being woven in the womb.”

The exhibition will combine intricate garments, weavings, sound work and moving image. The main work – Gatherer – will be presented in physical form and as part of a film piece, featuring Ngarrindjeri, Narungga and Kaurna dancer Caleena Sansbury.

“The main piece is a work that Caleena will dance with, it’s a large-scale woven net dress. She will be wearing it, moving in it, on Country, in the water and on the sand because I’m a saltwater woman myself,” Chantal says.

“I’ve created this soundscape element that has developed through talking to my mum about language and how everything is interconnected and woven. It is quite a full circle moment, in the sense that there’s all senses being acknowledged.

“Gulayí ultimately connects to coming together and collaborating as First Nations women, it’s about motherhood and how we carry our grandmother’s lineage and strength.”

Henley has previously exhibited her works through the National Gallery of Australia, Redland Art Gallery, Jam Factory, Art Gallery Gold Coast and Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair.

Gulayí [Woven Vessel] will open on Friday, October 27, 2023, 5:30-7:30pm, as part of Tarnanthi 2023. The exhibition will run from October 20 to January 19 in The Mill’s Exhibition Space. Admission is free.

There will be a weaving workshop with Chantal Henley on 7 November from 12-3 pm. Cost to attend is $58. Click here to book now. You can also join Chantal on 1 December from 5:30-6 pm for a free artist talk.