Stories Organisations Projects About Login

New Zealand flax, Emu feathers - 'Eel Trap with Emu Feathers' by Bronwyn Razem

From the Collection of Federation University Australia Art Collection Artworks are displayed at Federation University Australia campuses at Ballarat, Gippsland (Churchill), Stawell and Horsham. Victoria

A woven New Zealand flax eel trap with emu feathers.

This work won the University of Ballarat Acquisitive Award for work reflecting Victoria's Western District. The judges were impressed by Bronwyn Razem's translation of the traditional eel trap into a sculptural form evocative of the flow of water and possible the passage of time. The design and technical knowhow which Razem inherited from her mother, uncles, and grandfather connects this work to the family;s life and traditions. She then enhances the simplicity of this very functional object by the addition of delicate emu feathers, creating a work that creatively and symbolically transcends its original form.

Artist's Statement: "The breeze going through the eel trap gives a feeling of water flowing through the vessel with the feathers softly waiving as the water flows. My grandfather Nicholas Couzens and my uncles made eel traps to fish the Hopkins River - this is how my mother learnt the techniques which she passed on to me."

45.0 x 140.0 x 45.0 cm
Object Registration
art, artwork, bronwyn razem, razem, eel trap, aboriginal, indigenous, available
Historical information
Bronwyn RAZEM
Gunditjmara/Kirrae Whurrong

Bronwyn Razem is an Indigenous Australian basket weaver and painter. She is a Gunditjmara woman of the Kirrae Whurrong clan of western Warrnambool on the Victorian coastline. Bronwyn’s practice involves an exploration of her Indigenous heritage and identity, and she creates symbolic representations of places and events that are meaningful to her family. She integrates ochres, sand and other materials into her paintings, and her works also draw on the possum skin cloak traditions of her ancestors. In 2008, Bronwyn was chosen by the Australia Council for the Arts to be part of a delegation of Indigenous artists to attend the 10th Pacific Arts Festival in Western Samoa.
Bronwyn’s mother, Aunty Zelda Couzens, was a well-respected basket weaver and elder who taught Bronwyn basket-making techniques. Bronwyn now regularly conducts basket weaving workshops with Victorian Indigenous communities in order to facilitate the revival of cultural traditions. She has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours at Deakin University, and in 2008 she was enrolled in a Master by Research degree at Deakin Institute of Koorie Education, Geelong, and was living in Ballarat. (, accessed 18 April 2016)

This item is part of the Federation University Art Collection. The Art Collection features over 1000 works and was listed as a 'Ballarat Treasure' in 2007.
When Made
Made By
Bronwyn Razem (Artist)
Last updated
3 Mar 2017 at 10:11AM