Art dealer for more than 20 years, and specialising in Indigenous art for more than a decade, Jenny Hillman of Waterhole Art came to know Minnie\u2019s work quite intimately when she was invited by Minnie\u2019s grandson to their ancestral lands near Utopia in the Northern Territory. \u201cI\u2019d always been an admirer of Minnie\u2019s work [and here I was able to] watch her paint, seeing her endless obsession with putting marks down and understanding what they meant.\u201d \r\n\r\nHaving known Yosi Tal, Managing Director of Designer Rugs, and watching his business for some years, Jenny saw the opportunity for a collaboration. She and Minnie\u2019s grandson, prominent Indigenous art dealer Fred Torres, put together a selection of Minnie\u2019s existing works that were simple, graphic and would work well large-scale on rugs. \u201cAt that time there hadn\u2019t been an Indigenous artist featured in a rug collection,\u201d recalls Jenny, \u201cSo I put it to Yosi that the time was right and Minnie\u2019s work would translate amazingly.\u201d Yosi agreed.\r\n\r\nJenny and Fred negotiated a beneficial contract to enable Minnie and her community to receive royalties from each sale.\u201d From there, the process took roughly two years. \u201cThe incredible Designer Rugs team worked extremely hard to deliver an image that is true to the artwork,\u201d Jenny says. \u201cIt was hours of selecting colours, choosing the right mills. \r\n\r\nOnce the colour selection had taken place, high resolution photographs of each piece was sent to the manufacturer, along with working drawings. Sampling was produced to ensure that the essence of Minnies work was achieved. \u201cIt was a highly collaborative process and one which was very rewarding for everyone involved,\u201d Jenny believes. When Minnie passed sadly during this time, it was left to her grandson, who was \u201cextremely adept and very commited to preserving her legacy\u201d, to complete the project. According to Jenny, Fred remained very involved and signed off on every detail. \r\n\r\nYosi Tal explains, \u201cMinnie\u2019s signature as an artist would definitely be her energetic brush strokes, so we took the challenge upon ourselves to translate this energy into the rugs. The painterly, sweeping effect of the designs are achieved through careful stippling of different coloured wool, and was the first time we had achieved this type of effect.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u2018Atnwengerrp\u2019, which means \u2018land of dreamings\u2019, comprises a limited edition collection of seven hand-tufted 100 per cent New Zealand wool rugs, based on iconic Minnie Pwerle paintings. \u201cIt was incredible that we were able to produce this collection that so honoured her,\u201d says Jenny. \u201cHer daughter, Barbara Weir, was incredibly impressed when she saw it.\u201d \r\n\r\nJenny believes Minnie\u2019s art \u2013 and the rugs by extension \u2013 have a potent power. \u201cMinnie\u2019s sense of colour and geometry is amazing, but there is also a connection to land and ceremony. [The rugs] have a topographical story about the landscape, but then there is a deeper story about how [her tribe] lives in the landscape, how they relate to it, and their ancestral stories. They\u2019re very unique; so Australian and so worthy because they\u2019re like a flag,\u201d she continues. \u201cYou have a piece of great significance and great beauty, but you can also not understand any of that, and still appreciate it.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Designer Rugs team say that through the process they \u201cgained a great deal of insight into the nuances, history and importance of Minnie\u2019s work. We hope we\u2019ve been able to pass this meaning along to a new audience, who then go on to engage with Minnie\u2019s art and other indigenous artists. Indigenous art is as unique as it is beautiful, and we saw it as a great honour to be a part of preserving Minnie\u2019s work, her history and her talent. Also from a purely aesthetic standpoint, Minnie\u2019s art is mesmerising and meaningful \u2013 we were excited to translate the work into rugs, and saw the potential for creating great design.\u201d\r\n\r\nAlthough Minnie passed away before the launch of the collection, the royalties continue to support her family and community. Importantly, this collaboration paved the way for further Indigenous collections with Designer Rugs. So there is an ongoing connection with Indigenous tribes \u2013 and another way for their stories to be shared.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe believe it is important to keep indigenous art alive through a younger generation,\u201d concludes Yosi. \u201cCommerical collaborations like this should not only support young artists financially, but also show them that being an artist is a viable career. Nurturing that motivation to create is critical in keeping this unique art form alive.\u201d\r\n\r\n \u2018Atnwengerrp\u2019 rugs have been specified into a variety of projects, from beautiful homes to the National Museum of Australia. They are available from Designer Rugs.