SHUKLAY TAHPO and MU NAW POE, unwavering weavers.

In early 2013 a group of Karen refugee women undertook a tapestry training program at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne. Their tutor, Sara Lindsay, has continued to work with 2 members of the group, Mu Naw Poe and Shuklay Tahpo, visiting their homes on a fortnightly basis to encourage the development of skills and design material.

Mu Naw arrived in Australia in 2008. She learnt cloth weaving from her mother in Burma and continued her weaving practice in the refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border that she lived in for 20 years. Since 2011 she has produced colourful, patterned collages portraying the natural world. Mu Naw has adapted to tapestry weaving with great ease, demonstrating a highly intuitive use of colour and pattern. Shuklay also arrived in Australia in 2008 and has produced numerous collages as part of the Karen Art Group. She had no experience of weaving prior to arriving in Australia, but has quickly developed her significant lyrical style, which displays a deep passion for the medium. “When I am weaving I am happy”, she says. Both artists have received awards for their collages in the Heartlands Refugee Art Prize. In 2010 Mu Naw was awarded 2nd prize and in 2012 Shuklay received a Special Mention prize.

Mu Naw and Shuklay's tapestries are on exhibition in the studio this weekend 1-4pm.

Photos courtesy of  Heartland and Gus Kemp, words by Sara Lindsay.