Sonja Carmichael is a Quandamooka woman from Mulgumpin / Moreton Island and Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. She is of the Ngugi people, one of three clans who are the traditional custodians of Quandamooka, also known as Yoolooburrabee – people of the sand and sea. Sonja works specifically in the medium of fibre basketry and woven sculptures, informed by her family’s cultural connections to the land and seas of Quandamooka.
In her practice, she draws inspiration from the many stories connected to Quandamooka weaving, and also explores contemporary materials and techniques – in particular ‘ghostnets’ and fishing lines – that directly respond to concerns about the preservation of the natural environment.
An active member in her community, Sonja is a leader in the regeneration of Quandamooka weaving, passing on cultural knowledge and skills through workshops, exhibitions, and field research.
As well as presenting practical and philosophical aspects of her work, she has shown in group exhibitions, including: Open Hands, Tarnanthi (2020), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Long water: fibre stories (2020), Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Legacy: Reflections on Mabo (2019), Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and national touring venues; Micro Histories (2019), Museum of Brisbane; Shared Connections (2019), Brisbane City Council Indigenous Art Program; Australian Art Collection (2017), Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art; Gathering Strands (2016), Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland.
Her work is held in collections such as the Queensland Art Gallery, Museum of Brisbane, National Gallery of Victoria, National Museum of Australia, Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, and Redland Art Gallery.