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Indigenous dry season heading to textile exhibition in Paris

Rachael Knowles -

The winds of the dry season will flow across the seas this October as the Bábbarra Women's Centre exhibit artwork in the Australian Embassy in Paris, France.

Five artists and two curators will be traveling to Paris from Maningrida, Northern Territory.

The exhibition will combine the 12 language groups that live within Maningrida and celebrates Jarracharra â€" the dry season.

The Bábbarra Women's Centre Assistant Manager, and Co-Curator of Jarracharra, Jessica Phillips is one of the few female, Indigenous curators to emerge from rural, remote communities.

Ms Phillips said the exhibit will feature 30 design fabrics from the community.

"We have artists here from different languages, we hope the audience feel they are in the dry season â€" it's a time of ceremony, and of bushfood. The time where languages travelled, different clans travelled through country," Ms Phillips said.

The Bábbarra Centre team are currently working through over 100 designs to select at least 30 for the exhibition.

"We are putting our senior artists in the exhibit, highlighting the senior artists that are still current and have been with us for a long time. We want to inspire our ladies about what they do, because they love printing so much, and reward them for years of hard work."

The exhibition coincides with the United Nations Year of the Indigenous Languages, and is an opportunity to showcase the culture that lives within remote communities in Australia.

"We have to go and tell our story, we have this amazing story to tell from the artists and country - we are all multilingual, we share the same story about the dry season," Ms Phillips said.

"To show the world that our culture still exists, our languages are still being spoken and to share that with our world."

The Bábbarra Centre Manager and co-curator of Jarracharra, Ingrid Johanson said the women intend to open the exhibition.

"The women would like to perform their traditional dance and song lines at the exhibition opening, including Wurrurrumi song cycle belonging to Western Arnhem Land," Ms Johanson said.

"This is the first-time Indigenous textiles will have been exhibited at the Australian Embassy, and the Embassy staff are working hard to organise a busy program for the women's time in Paris."

Accommodation and airfare of some of the women is being funded by an Australian Council grant however, the centre has created a crowd funding page for donations.

Donations can be made for the the Bábbarra Centre's trip here: https://chuffed.org/project/maningrida-to-paris.

By Rachael Knowles

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