Among Equals: Meet the Weavers

Lunchtime panel discussion
Friday 5 April: Three Papua New Guinean artists from the non-profit Among Equals initiative will join 'Tidal Kin' co-curator Ruth Choulai in a conversation about the histories and meanings of bilum bags.

Join us for a rare opportunity to meet three bilum (woven bag) makers from the Papua New Guinea highlands and Sepik regions. You'll hear about their work, the designs and symbolism and explore how embracing tradition can empower female artisans and their communities to make change. From 12.30pm you'll have the chance to view their work and some older bilums from the Chau Chak Wing Museum collection, followed by a panel discussion.

Register for Among Equals: Meet the Weavers.

This event is presented with thanks to Among Equals, a non-profit organisation that merges art and community with fashion. 

Since 2015, Among Equals has worked with more than 2,000 women in Papua New Guinea in close collaboration with community leaders and aggregators. Their handwoven bags now sell throughout 12 countries and 42 premium retailers. This in turn provides the communities with income for school fees, bus fares and living expenses.

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Ruth Choulai

The discussion will be moderated by Ruth Choulai.

Ruth is co-curator of the exhibition 'Tidal Kin' and a project worker with Among Equals. She has previously worked in the Pacific Island Trade and Investment Commission to find mainstream economic opportunities for Pacific peoples.

Florence Jaukae

Florence, known fondly as the 'Bilum Meri', is a fiercely passionate advocate for the women Bilum weavers and for Among Equals. In 2013 Florence started the Bilum Festival, not long after leaving a home rife with domestic violence. Florence is the epitome of strength, humility and what it means to be a woman forging a better future for the children of multiple communities. 

Lina Singu

For the past 22 years, Lina has made it her mission to connect women living in remote villages along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea by training them to become independent and highly-skilled bilum weavers. In a small motorboat, she makes the four day journey down the Sepik to meet women in their villages and link them to the international marketplace for their bilum.

Barbara Pagasa

Artisan weaver Barbara Pagasa lives with her husband, Michael, in Mount Hagen in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. She is a much-loved group leader and dedicated program coordinator at House of Hope, a refuge she established for women requiring healthcare. Barbara takes these women in with tremendous compassion, warmth and kindness.

Register for Among Equals: Meet the Weavers.

Image courtesy of Among Equals

Event details

Lunchtime panel discussion

Friday 05 April 2024
12.30PM - 2.00PM
Nelson Meers Foundation Auditorium
Register now