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Monique van Nieuwland

Monique van Nieuwland
Artist's statement

Monique's work encompasses loom weaving, Jacquard weaving, as well as mixed media. The concepts in her work focus on common human experiences and environmental concerns.
Her M(Phil) study at Australian National University was inspired by her community arts work in a hospice. Her 2004 sub-thesis "The shroud as a contemporary textile art form in the Western world" was the result of research into the resurgence of the shroud both as a practical object and a form of conceptual textile art. It argued that shrouds are becoming a significant phenomenon embodying personal, medical and political responses to death. Her accompanying exhibition Welcome and Farewell explored concepts of life and death, from a personal and contemporary viewpoint, in the form of ritual textiles to cover and wrap the body at birth and death. Techniques and imagery were selected to convey ideas of fertility, sacrifice, light, natural forces, dust/space, time/eternity. Monique's 2006 solo exhibition of hand woven work simply cloth, looked at simple and ordinary textiles. The installation showed the beauty of everyday textiles (such as handkerchiefs, dishcloths, nappies, washers, tea towels, blankets) evoking personal stories and memories. The work also addressed environmental concerns, highlighting wasteful practises in Western societies, where ordinary and utilitarian woven cloth is disappearing, substituted by synthetic and disposable alternatives.
Ocean Forest, her latest solo exhibition (2015) of handwoven jacquard pieces inspired by 19th century botanical drawings, looks at the beauty of ocean flora, and deals with environmental concerns for the health and deforestation of our oceans. It includes an installation of 12 seaweed banners, five wall pieces depicting sea monsters, which represent plastic waste gyres, and 10 fine Jacquard woven studies interpreting botanical paintings. The accompanying ‘Ocean Sound Vignettes’ composed by Madeleine Cocolas used the sounds of the weaving process.

Like Monique's work? You can buy a gift card!

Recent work
Welcome and Farewell
  • Welcome and Farewell, 2004
  • (works left to right) Mother the Sea (chemical treatment printed and stitched), Story Cloth, Tree of Life-Four Elements, Time and Eternity, hand woven
  • Dimensions: Exhibition overview
  • Photo: Mike Key
Gather Around
  • Gather Around, 2006
  • Monofilament, cotton, Hand weaving, discontinued warp and weft, screen print, devore
  • Dimensions: 118 x 99 cm
  • Photo: Margot Seares
Bubble shrink scarf selection
  • Bubble shrink scarf selection, 2014
  • Wool and acrylic, Handwoven and felted
  • Dimensions: 170x30cm each
  • Photo: Courtesy of the artist
Ocean Scape
  • Ocean Scape, 2014
  • Warp: cotton/linen Weft hand dyed fishing line, recycled fishing nets, plastic bags, rope, audio tape
  • Dimensions: 260x100cm
  • Photo: Pam Brown

Ocean Forest installation, exhibition overview
  • Ocean Forest installation, exhibition overview, 2015
  • Warp: cotton/linen Weft: hand dyed fishing line Handwoven Jacquard
  • Dimensions: Various sizes (255cmx38cm - 190x38cm)
  • Photo: Sara Samios
Flora Folio - Plates XLIII, XLV and CLXXV
  • Flora Folio - Plates XLIII, XLV and CLXXV, 2014
  • Warp: silk Weft: hand dyed monofilament
  • Dimensions: 36x28x4cm
  • Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Like Monique's work? You can buy a gift card!


Monique van Nieuwland learned to weave in the Netherlands and bought her first loom in the late 70s while she was working on a commission weaving fabrics for curtains and tablecloths.
After migrating to Australia in 1982, Monique studied Visual Arts-Textiles at the Australian National University School of Art. She completed a Master of philosophy-Visual Arts at ANU in 2004.
In the 1980s and 90s her practice also included community art. This involved working with individuals and groups in the Canberra community creating art work, some also for public display, mostly within health facilities. Since then she has been commissioned by several hospitals creating viewing cloths for use in mortuaries to cover the deceased for viewing.
Monique exhibits regularly, nationally and internationally. Her work has been selected three times for the Tamworth Contemporary Textiles (biennial and triennial) exhibition, which is a curated overview of Australian contemporary textiles and travels around the country for two to three years. In 2016 she will represent Australia at the 15th International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland.
Van Nieuwland has worked on many commissions for private and public places. In 2014 she worked for the movie “Gods of Egypt” (Alex Proyas, release in Feb 2016). She collaborated with costume designer Liz Keogh to produced shawls as well as cloth for cloaks and tunics for characters played by Brenton Thwaites and Geoffrey Rush.
Monique is an Accredited Professional Member of CraftACT, a member of Networks Australia and Canberra Spinners and Weavers.
Van Nieuwland teaches weaving at tertiary level but also enjoys teaching in the general community. She has been running a yearly summer school at the ANU since 2008. Monique uses a computerized Jacquard loom, which is the latest state-of-the-art weave technology. She is passionate about weaving, keeping it current as an innovative form of expression.

Selected exhibitions
2015:   Ocean Forest (Solo), Sturt Gallery - Mittagong, NSW
2014:   Group Exchange, 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial , travelling Austraia,
2013:   Terrain: Mapping Strathnairn, Strathnairn Gallery - Canberra
2013:   Inhabit - living in design, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2012:   Networks, Belconnen Arts Centre - Canberra
2011:   Nets, VI International Biennial Textile Art - Mexico,
2011:   Tree of Life, Royal North Shore Hospital - Sydney
2011:   Here by Hand, 70 Years of Sturt Exhibition, Sturt Gallery - Mittagong, NSW
2011:   Elements: fibre, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra , ACT
2009:   Threads of Influence, Sturt Gallery - Mittagong, NSW
2008:   Re-fab, Belconnen Community Gallery - Canberra
2006:   simply cloth, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2004:   a matter of time, 16th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial - Tamworth, NSW
2004:   Horizons, Australian National University School of Art Gallery - Canberra
2003:   Death, the last taboo, Australia Museum - Sydney
2003:   Intersections, art, health, science and medical technology, Sydney College of the Arts Gallery - Sydney
2001:   More Swanky Hankies, Touring exhibition - Australia, France and USA
1997:   The Rembrandt Connection, The Malthouse - Melbourne
1990:   Tussen Tafel en Bed- vezel objecten, Gallerie de Ploegh - Amersfoort, Netherlands
1988:   8th Tamworth National Fibre Exhibition, Tamworth Regional Gallery - Tamworth, NSW
Selected commissions/awards/grants
2014:   Gods of Egypt - weaving for movie set and costumes Director: Alex Proyas; Costume Design: Liz Keogh
2012:   Mortuary Viewing Cloths, Royal North Shore Hospital
2012:   Kolding Design School Residency (Jacquard Studio), Denmark
2009:   Prayer Room Curtains, Auburn Hospital, Sydney
2009:   Mortuary Viewing Cloth, Mortuary Auburn Hospital, Sydney
2009:   RMIT Jacquard Studio residency, Melbourne
2008:   Sturt Contemporary Craft Centre Residency, Mittagong, NSW
2008:   Bauhaus Block Hanging, private commission, Australia
2005:   Threadbare - Nowa Nowa Nudes Prize
2005:   Tree of Life, private commission, The Netherlands
2003:   Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Jacquard Studio residency, Montreal
2000:   Letting Go, Mortuary viewing cloth, Nepean Hospital, Sydney
1998:   Vaarwel, Viewing cloths, Braeside Hospital, Sydney
1995:   Birds, court yard installation, Malacky PTY LTD, North Sydney
1995:   ACT Hospice Palliative Care Society, Artist Residency
1993:   Seraphic Glass design,CUBIT Int Design, D.E.E.T., Times Square, A.C.T.
1993:   Looking Out, Woden Valley Hospital, A.C.T.
Selected publications
2011:   J. Ryder, Elements: fibre, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
2011:   Cousins, K-A., A sensitively curated show, Canberra Times, Times2, p8
2010:   Sedgmen J., Threads of Influence, Craft Arts International #78, pp110-111
2008:   Kelly M., Finding value in the discarded, 14-4-08, Canberra Times, Times2, p10
2007:   Strange, C., One Centre-Zip White - Shrouds as conceptual Textile Art, “Pain and Death”, Chapter 3, ANU Humanities Research Volume XIV #2
2006:   Nonja Peters, The Dutch Down Under 1606-2006, "Dutch artists in Australia" (Nien Schwarz), 409-410, Wolters Kluwer
2006:   Kerry-Anne Cousins, Nice Threads of Time, Canberra Times
2006:   Eggerking, K., The art of everyday life, Capital Life, Nov-Dec06, p50
2005:   Penny Webb, Everything old becomes new again, The Age
2005:   John Neylon, Tamworth shows time's worth, Adelaide Review
2003:   Janet Hawley, From Here to Eternity, The Sydney Morning Herald
1998:   Melinz, L., Is Hanson a work of art?, UNSW College of Fine Art, Artwrite, #14
1994:   Community Arts in the Hospital Environment, Textile Fibre Forum, No 40, p53
1993:   Marsden, S., HEALTHY ARTS, a guide to the role of the arts in health care 1998, Arts Access, Melbourne, p8
1991:   Opperman, M., Expressing Trust, Artifact, Autumn 1991, p16
1989:   Tamworth National Fibre Exhibition, Craft Arts, August/October 1989,pp109-110


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