Australian Tapestry Workshop

Royal Harvest

Australian Embassy, Indonesia

After over 1400 hours of weaving, The Royal Harvest tapestry was cut from the loom by Kaantju and Umpila artist Naomi Hobson’s family in late February 2021.


Now displayed in the foyer of the Australian Embassy to Indonesia, it is the tenth tapestry woven as part of an innovative cultural program that places tapestries designed by First Peoples artists in Australian diplomatic missions. The Myer Family generously funded the tapestry in memory of Arnold Hancock OBE, who in 2004, with Gordon Darling AC, initiated the first tapestry in this program Lumpu Lumpu Country designed by Daisy Andrews, for the Australian Embassy to Japan. The Royal Harvest is a fitting tribute to Hancock’s visionary thinking, passionate advocacy and unstinting commitment to Australian tapestry over four decades.

Hobson’s paintings, inspired by her immediate environment, express her ongoing connection to Country. The design of The Royal Harvest depicts the bounty of ancient trades between the First Peoples of Far North Queensland and the Macassans of the Indonesian archipelago through a colourful combination of layered forms and patterns. Hobson is well known for her intuitive use of colour, which creates depth, variety and connects evocatively with the viewer.

ATW weavers Pamela Joyce, Sue Batten, Amy Cornall, Tim Gresham and Jennifer Sharpe, have mixed a broad range of colours to render Hobson’s vibrant palette that encompasses pastel and bright colours, overlapping with contrasting outlines in tones both dark and light.

Hobson was able to return to Melbourne between lock-downs in March to see the completed tapestry before it departed for Jakarta which happily coincided with a visit from the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC. Reflecting on the year-long collaboration, Hobson mused, ‘my paintings have detailed layers, elaborate markings, and brush strokes. Understanding how they captured this through their weaving was an extraordinary application of capacity.’

The ATW was delighted His Excellency Gary Quinlan AO could see the tapestry in situ at the Australian Embassy to Indonesia before his retirement. Speaking of the tapestry, Mr Quinlan commented, that ‘Its colour, complexity, storyline and its luminous quality, in particular, bring joy and grabs the attention of visitors and staff. It will be an enduring window into Australia over the years ahead. We thank the generous donors for commissioning this important tapestry for the Embassy in Jakarta and the artist, the weavers, and all contributing to the project’.