Deborah Wurrkidj’s work Ngaye nga-bengkan I have that knowledge) 2019 was finalist in the 2019 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).
“This work has been created using silk stained with native botanicals in Arnhem Land. Deborah has a lifetime of experience dying pandanus, however this is the first time she has used ‘bush colour’ dye for purpose of dying woven fibres at the Babbarra Women’s Centre.
The process of collecting the botanicals is laborious. The yellow tone is from the root of the man-kurdudjumuk (coelospermum reticulatum), dug out in the sandy country near flood plains. Blue-silver is from the man-djurlukkun (antidesma ghesaembilla), a delicious red/purple berry, only occurring for a few weeks after the wet season. The rusty tone is from windilk (haemodorum coccineum), a flower which grows in the stone country.
After dying the fabrics, Deborah has printed various hand carved lino titles over the silks using metallic silver ink. The designs relate to women’s knowledge of country and environment- pandanus woven mats, dilly bags, water lily, pandanus trees, water hole and woven baskets.
“I was learning from the old people. I was taught by my grandma and the old women that dyeing story, same way I’m doing it with manburrbarr (fabric)- same leaves, same flowers, and same roots.
My grandmother told me, you don’t have to do it balanda (non- Aboriginal) way, you can do it our Aboriginal way. We have colour in our country, we know where it lives- our rock country and the flood plain way. Our plants- she will make lots of different colours, you just have to look.
We can eat the man-djurlukkun (native currant) for bush tucker, but also I was thinking, like my mind, I could use this manme (bush food) for dyeing. This is really the first time we have ever used this berry for dying- this year, 2019. I saw how good that colour looked I had that idea to use it at Babbarra on silk- but I had to stop those kids from eating those berries first- true story!”
Text by Deborah Wurrkidj and Ingrid Johanson, 2019
‘Ngaye nga-bengkan (I have that knowledge)’ 2019 natural dyes from man-kurdudjumuk (Coelospermum reticulatum), man-djurlukkun (Antidesma ghesaembilla) and windilk (Haemodorum coccineum) on silk with metallic fabric ink 140 x 300 cm (overall)
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This landmark exhibition, presents exciting new hand-printed Indigenous textiles from remote communities across far north Australia. Community-led Aboriginal Art Centres in the Northern Territory first explored screen-printed textiles as a new creative medium in the 1960s. Today, these textiles are a nationally and internationally acclaimed form of cultural expression that provides sustainable economic, cultural, and
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Kun-waral, a collaboration between Bábbarra Women’s Centre and Maningrida Arts & Culture, refers to the shadow or memory of powerful beings who transformed as they moved across country, before humans arrived. In the same way, the artists in this show transform and move across artistic mediums, presenting Japanese woodblock prints, etchings, linocuts on fabric and pandanus woven panels.
For the 2019 Tour de France, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) contacted Bábbarra Women’s Centre in order to licence Jennifer Wurrkidj’s design, for SBS presenters to wear during the Tour de France broadcasting on international television. SBS had jerseys made in Sydney, and distributed them to the team where they were worn proudly by staff and crew
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As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers are leading a movement away from collaborative or consultative models to Indigenous-led design, this survey exhibition showcases contemporary Indigenous design projects from across Australia. From fashion, interiors, and product design to landscape, architecture and town planning, the exhibited projects will interrogate how Indigenous design is defined, received, and made visible
Raylene Bonson’s ‘Wubbunj’ was one of 32 finalists. The purpose of the King & Wood Mallesons Award – Contemporary ATSI Art Prize is to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made to Australian culture by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in remote, regional and urban areas throughout Australia working in wall hung two or three dimensional
This exhibition focuses on the extensive knowledge of the propagation, harvesting, preparation and storage of bush foods held by Aboriginal people from different communities around the NT. Damibila in Gulumoerrgin (Larrakia) means ‘Barramundi’ and is also the name given to the season that signals the start of the dry season in the Top End. Mimah means food in Gulumoerrgin;
Opening: Friday 20th April 2018 at 6 pm Karrang Kunred/Mother Land unites three senior Kuninjku women of the Kurulk clan who are closely related: sisters Jennifer Wurrkidj and Deborah Wurrkidj and aunt Susan Marawarr. Artistic boundaries are pushed in this exhibition by connecting traditional bark paintings and lorrkon alongside experimental textile prints. Karrang Kunred in Kuninjku means
Women Printing Culture Bábbarra Designs, a contemporary art textile centre in the community of Maningrida, is Aboriginal owned and governed, run by women for women. It is one of a small group of Indigenous textile-producing art centres in Australia that design, print and sew product onsite, in community. Each silk-screened length of fabric is a
Karridjowkke Kunronj – Crossing Streams brings together five established female artists from the Kuninjku homelands of western Arnhem Land. The works integrate time-honoured traditions of art making with contemporary imagery. Deborah Wurrkidj, Jennifer Wurrkidj, Susan Marawarr, Helen Lanyinwanga and Melba Gunjarrwanga, are women of the stone country surrounding the remote homeland of Mumeka, who work with both Babbarra Designs and
An immersive exhibition that delves into the waters of Arnhem Land. Through the storytelling of contemporary fibre artists of the larger Maningrida region, this exhibition presents a world abundant with totemic ancestors and beings, animals and the various technologies used to hunt. Featuring installations and fibre sculptures by senior artists including Lulu Laradjbi, Anniebell Marrngnamarrnga, Frewa Bardaluna, Vera
The title for this exhibition ‘Wiwa Babbarra: Sacred Ground’ was chosen, with formal permissions from the traditional land owner and djunkai (land caretaker) of the land Babbarra. Babbarra billabong is a place of high sacred significance south of the community of Maningrida, and is also the namesake of our Women’s Centre. ‘Wiwa’ means my country,
Beyond the Surface: New Textiles and Ceramics explores the diverse ways in which images and designs are applied to contemporary ceramics, textiles and furniture as an aesthetic expression of culture and identity. A new initiative of the Gallery, Beyond the Surface brings together recent works produced by a selection of outstanding Indigenous and non-Indigenous ceramists, textile artists and
In April this year, Babbarra Designs was invited to present at Sydney’s inaugural Australian Indigenous Fashion Week’s Design Forum Creative Lab Sessions. An overarching theme for the forum was the building of ethical frameworks for design collaborations between fashion designers and Indigenous fabric producers. The women from Babbarra Designs spoke about their collaboration with Sydney Indigenous
Marebu and Mukuy: The centerpiece of the exhibition will be a pandanus mat and baskets showing the traditional technique of weaving pandanus to create cultural objects. This will establish a visual link between the adaptation of traditional pandanus weaving to designs on fabric from Maningrida, and the creation of the sculptural Mukuy spirit beings from
This exhibition showcases the fine Indigenous textile art by the women of Maningrida in Central Arnhem Land. The work of these textile artists depicts many different ‘stories’. These stories relate to the landscape, dreaming stories, bush foods and bush crafts from ‘on country’. The variation in subject matter reflects the different cultural identity of the
Selling Yarns 3: Weaving the nation’s story was a four-day event that presented a conference, a market day, workshops, an exhibition and associated activities program, and launched the inaugural Indigenous Art Film program. As the premier national forum for Indigenous textile and fibre in the country it was supported by the Centenary of Canberra, drawing people
Curated by Valerie Kirk, Head of Textiles at the Australian National University. The theme for the Biennial was the gathering of momentum and ideas in response to evolving current technologies in textiles. “History and Tradition have not been negated. On the contrary, there is a reawakened interest in preserving knowledge and expertise, respecting past traditions