Marreh-boh (Pandanus Mats)

Deborah has depicted marreh-boh, woven pandanus mats, something she often makes as part of her artistic practice with Maningrida Arts & Culture.

Conical mats were traditionally used to shield babies from mosquitoes. Long flat mats were used for blocking creeks so that fish would be diverted into fish traps. A small triangular mat used to be worn by women during ceremonial gatherings, tied around their back and covering them at the front. Mats are also used for wrapping and rinsing food in water.

Artists usually use kun-dayarr (pandanus spiralis) to weave the fragrant, decorative round mats. When weaving, artists commonly use a mix of naturally dyed and undyed fibre to create a striking variation of coloured bands. Some artists also incorporate different types of looping to produce intricate patterns and textured finishes. There is a significant spiritual dimension to pandanus mats and the radial woven patterns of the finest round mats appear to vibrate with colour, often regarded as an aesthetic manifestation of djang, the ongoing, life-giving transformative power that accounts for every aspect of existence.