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March 2010

From the southern ocean to the northern seas and across the desert, contemporary textile art is practiced by Aboriginal artists. This exhibition showcases the work of three centres of contemporary textile practice. Babbarra Designs is based at Maningrida in central Arnhem Land. The artists depict the landscape, dreaming stories, spirit beings, bush foods and bush crafts from their country. The Maningrida region of central Arnhem Land is one of immense cultural and linguistic diversity. The variation in subject matter reflects the cultural identity of women from the different language groups.The women produce lino-tile designs and print these on fabric with up to three layers of colour. Each piece of lino fabric is unique with varying tile and colour combinations. The textile artists also hand paint their lino-tiled fabric, further enhancing the creativity of individual pieces. The artists work on both silk and cotton fabrics. The silk fabrics are suitable for use as wall hanging lengths, stretching like paintings or to make clothing and cushions. The cotton fabrics come in an upholstery grade for furniture and in softer grade cotton for use as wall hangings, table cloths, cushions and clothing.

Ernabella Arts Inc, from the Central Desert of Australia, is the oldest Indigenous art centre in Australia. Batik has been synonymous with Ernabella since the mid 1970’s and the resultant silks feature in many national and international public and private collections. Ernabella is located on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the north west of South Australia and has a community of about 400 Pitjantjatjara people. Of the contemporary art forms of Central Australia, the fabric traditions of Ernabella have gained a unique reputation in Australia and overseas. The artists continue to innovate, drawing on their land as inspiration for their rich and glowing cloths. The focus this year is on smaller scale silk cloths with finely detailed batik designs. Fabric of Life has been working closely with Ernabella Arts Inc since 2004. Kuju Arts is based in Port Lincoln on the West Coast of South Australia. The art from the region expresses culture, stories, lifestyle & family and reflects the colors of land & sea. The Sea baskets are made from local grasses/reeds and seaweed with shells and other objects found from the shores around the West Coast. The sea baskets and matt hangings are only a new craft to Kuju with the first showing of the new style baskets and hangings in April 2009. These baskets are unique to Port Lincoln and Kuju and represent the environment and the strong cultural links to the sea for the people on the West Coast.  Silk bags, hand painted by local Port Lincoln artist Elizabeth Miller will also be included. Each bag is unique with her two main designs being used– Honey ant Hunt and Footprints. Various colours are used to create unique and individual pieces of art and some of her silk paintings are also suitable for framing. Further Information Phone: 0404871707

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