Image courtesy of Babbarra Women’s Centre

This lecture presented by Joanna Barrkman will explore the phenomenon of how artists in remote Aboriginal Australian communities have embraced screen-printing on textiles as a contemporary art practice as they work in locally owned and operated art centres on their traditional lands. Each art center has developed its own style of printed fabrics as well as distinctive approaches to printed fabric production and distribution. This lecture will convey how, over the past three decades, Indigenous Australian artists have taken command of textile printing designs and technology to a point of mastery. This mastery of technique empowers artists and printers to confidently retell, transmit, revitalize and share ancient iconography, knowledge and connection to land, in contemporary and inventive ways.

The screen-printed textiles featured in this presentation originate from five art centres including:

  • Tiwi Design, Bathurst Island, Northern Territory
  • Jilamara Arts and Crafts, Melville Island, Northern Territory
  • Merrepen Arts, Nauiyu, Northern Territory
  • Injalak Arts, Gunbalanya, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
  • Babbarra Women’s Centre, Maningrida, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

These textiles also demonstrate the resilience of Aboriginal Australian culture and the perseverance of Indigenous artists as they create extraordinary textile art in often harsh and remote environments using the simplest of facilities. Examples of printed textiles from public and private collections will be featured.

Babbarra Women’s Centre are part of the Ngaldjorlhbo exhibition in Paris.

Joanna Barrkman is the Senior Curator, Southeast Asia and Pacific Arts, Fowler Museum at UCLA. She has formerly held curatorial positions at Charles Darwin University (CDU) Art Collection and Art Gallery (Darwin), the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra) and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (Darwin). She has curated exhibitions in Australia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, New Zealand and USA. She co-curated Textiles of Timor: Island in the Woven Sea with Roy W. Hamilton in 2014, and co-edited the eponymous publication, for the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Source: Textile Arts Council