Bábbarra Women’s Centre Artists to Exhibit Work in India

A group of Northern Territory (NT) artists from West Arnhem Land will showcase ancestral stories through textiles at the Bangalore International Centre Exhibition in October 2024, in collaboration with local designers from Tharangini Studio.

This is the second time artists from Bábbarra Women’s Centre will travel to India, after exhibiting at the Indian Museum in Kolkata last year.

During their 2023 visit, a partnership with Bangalore-based Tharangini Studio was established to explore synergies in their respective printing techniques.

Since the 1980s, Bábbarra Women’s Centre artists have been creating printed textiles from linocut designs. Designers from Tharangini Studio have helped translate these works to woodblocks, after discovering a shared connection with lands and culture.

The exhibition will feature the outputs of this collaboration, including a new set of woodblocks and printed textiles. The four artists travelling to India are Cindy Rostron, Rosanna Bonson, Abigail Gurawiliwili, and Raylene Bonson. After India, the exhibition will travel through India in 2024 and make its way to the Top End in 2025.

Supporting the growth of First Nations textile designers is part of the Northern Territory Government’s ambition to achieve a $40 billion economy by 2030. Key strategies include increasing the value and diversity of export products, growing foreign direct investment (FDI), and strengthening international engagement in priority markets, including India.

Part of the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, the Bábbarra Women’s Centre supports the meaningful engagement and livelihoods of women in Maningrida and their homelands through social and business enterprises, including the design and production of hand-printed fabric.

To date, the artists have created designs that have been applied to contemporary fashion and homewares both in Australia and around the world. Recently, a major collaboration was announced with sustainable accessories brand Helen Kaminski.

The Bábbarra Women's Centre also received three nominations in the 2024 NIFA Awards in the Textile Design Category.

Funding for this exhibition is being funded with a $250,000 Maitri Cultural Partnerships First Nations Collaboration Grant from the Centre for Australia-India Relations. The next grant round will be announced in late 2024 and published on the Australian Government's website GrantConnect.

The Northern Territory Government previously recognised Bábbarra Women’s Centre artist, Esther Yarllarlla, with the 2022 Traditional Adornment Award, presented by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation as part of National Indigenous Fashion Awards.

To learn more, visit the websites of the Bábbarra Women’s Centre and Tharangini Studio.

Page last updated 4 June 2024