Bundjalung and Kunwinjku Women’s Cultural Exchange
The Bungjalung and Kunwinjku Women’s Cultural Exchange was a unique collaborative arts project between Wake Up Time Group, a Northern Rivers Bundjalung women’s textile-arts collective based in Casino, and a group of Kunwinjku women textile artists, from Injalak Arts, Oenpelli Northern Territory. Both groups specialise in fabric textiles including printing, dyeing and weaving. The project supported the women to develop and exchange traditions, skills and techniques and also to create strong and lasting reciprocal relationships of cultural significance to each group.
Prior to the Cultural Exchange, both groups collected their weaving materials and dyes from their resective areas. The Northern Rivers program initiated the exchange, with a meet and greet day in Casino involving Elders, Land Council members, community members and Local Government representatives. In the afternoon, both groups visited a local site to visit to collective native plants from Bundjalung. A cultural sharing day at Goonegerry followed to establish relationships and rapport.
The Wake Up Time women hosted a 2 day native plant silk dyeing workshop with Kunwinjku women. The women experimented with local plant dyes from both communities. Following this the Kunwinjku women hosted a 3-day screen printing workshop at Goonengerry with the support of Jude White.
At the conclusion of the 2-week cultural exchange program the Bundjalung and Kunwinjku women opened the doors to offer a weekend workshop for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women. These workshops offered a unique opportunity for participants to engage and meet with both Bundjalung and Kunwinjku women, to share their culture and wisdom and learn the respective techniques of each group.
Cultural & Economic Impacts
- The development of new professional skills in dying and printing
- Increased artists’ confidence and understanding of developing saleable products
- The Casino Wake Up Time women have strengthened their weaving repertoire and reputation, and continue to explore a range of merchandise
- The promotion of sales for textile artworks via the project
- Raised interest and awareness of local Bundjalung weaving practise and culture to both Indigenous and non-indigenous community. A demand for workshops was evident.
- Raised the awareness and value of Aboriginal artists and arts practice
- Forged a new partnership with Arts Northern Rivers and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery
- The development of strong cultural bonds between two groups of regional remote Indigenous women artists
- Increase in knowledge of traditional weaving practices, native fibres and dyes from both the NT and NSW for each respective group of women
- Provided an opportunity for community to engage with local and interstate cultural group expanding their cultural understanding and respect
For more information visit Arts Northern Rivers.