Speech by the guests of honor at the "Ngaldjorlhbo" exhibition

For the opening of the exhibition "Ngaldjorlhbo | Mother of Everything | Mother of All Creation" on Wednesday June 6 in Paris, we had the joy and the privilege of having three guests of honor and godmothers of the exhibition, who gave strong and moving speeches to express their support and celebrate the art of the women artists of Maningrida: Céline Parsoud, Nadine Bilong and Bobbie Ruben.

Text by Céline Parsoud
President of WoMen'Up – Founder of Gender Busters (*)

"Committed to Gender Equality for many years, I am honored, on behalf of WoMen'Up, to sponsor this unprecedented exhibition in France produced by and with exceptional artists.

In art as elsewhere, the low visibility and representativeness of women has led to an erasure of their creativity and their talent, which it is up to us today to repair. The world of culture, which has also been the cradle of recent waves of mobilization for women's rights, must make a strong commitment to revalorize female artistic creation.

This is why we were particularly sensitive to this exhibition project paying homage to Aboriginal women and choosing to present only works by women artists. A way to give a voice, to finally grant a place, to Australian indigenous women artists within our cultures, which are all too often masculine-Western-centric.

The theme of this exhibition around the figure of Ngaldjorlhbo featuring a powerful woman, a creative woman, at the origins of the earth, as well as the values ​​of transmission to future generations, resonates in depth with our values ​​and our aspirations.

We are proud to support the art centers of Maningrida Arts & Culture and Bábbarra Women who play a crucial role with the women of the Maningrida region for their financial autonomy, the accessibility of health services, for their community and the defense of their land.

We invite you to come in large numbers to discover the richness of this exhibition organized by IDAIA, Maningrida Arts & Culture and Bábbarra Women's Art Center, in partnership with New Angles."

Text by Nadine Bilong
Independent curator (*)

“Women have for centuries served men as mirrors, they possessed the magic and delicious power of reflecting an image of man twice the size of life.”

A Room of One's Own , Virginia Woolf

Ngaldjorlhbo Mother of Everything | Mother of All Creation is an exhibition that pushes the boundaries and invites you to dream. IDAIA invites us to discover the message of women artists from the Aboriginal community of Maningrida, in Western Arnhem Land.

This event will dedicate through an enigmatic journey multidisciplinary creations of amazing artists. An art enriched with archives, documents witnessing a contemporary life involved in a century upset by many tensions.

As its title states, the mother of all creation is a metaphor for the plural circulations of forms and ideas, inviting us to rediscover a history of sometimes poorly explored territories, memories, rites that have nevertheless inspired the avant-gardes, and other cultural and transnational movements. It will be a question of renewing our memories and of acknowledging a “missed” international modernism in a history of classical or traditional arts misunderstood in its humanism and its universality.

This summer, the two sisters Deborah Wurrkidj and Jennifer Wurrkidj, as well as their aunt Susan Marawarr, will transport us in a contemporary ballad to the sounds of cosmogonic rites. The New Angles space at the Passage du Grand Cerf in Paris will be crossed by three accomplished and important personalities within their community.

Tangibility is an “inner necessity”, a spirituality linked to a protective world, the figure of a mother as a spiritual emanation released from all material contingencies, a protective force, which crosses matter and soothes it.

The works presented and the themes addressed during our various exchanges will face the complexities of this unknown land, the artists will insist on the technical experiments which have pushed the men and women of the caves to find an adequate form for the contents that they still wish to evoke. and invoke. Forms that cultivate and animate life, like notes from a very long journey that relates the increasing autonomy of colors, the concordance and discordance of points and lines on various planes. These works through their spirituality will express the nostalgia for an often forgotten land, the loss of our soul in the face of the materialism of our era. The artists will carry through their paths sounds and vibrations favoring a magical gaze of humans.

The so-called "indigenous" primitive or first arts are unalterable sources of inspiration, they are like an eternal abstract landscape whose virginity of spirit and soul we admire, the works presented are bodies that cross time to through a transmission or an “art” whose faces manage to see beyond their sections.

“The artist is the hand which, through the appropriate use of such and such a touch, sets the human soul in vibration. »

Of the spiritual in art, and in painting in particular, Wassily Kandinsky.

Going beyond the borders of the dream through different media means adapting to the new instruments of the world that promote the expansion of knowledge and the evolution of mentalities, reflection and therefore the spirituality of future generations, but it is is above all a desire to transform civilization by integrating values ​​that are absent due to lack of knowledge. Ngaldjorlhbo will give women the power of universal knowledge, the knowledge of the deeply rooted links to the primordial word, of the links necessary for the transformation of identities in a world lacking in uniqueness in the face of unbridled globalization or the rapid interweaving of differences.

The contemporary works of the peoples of the world are first of all stories or pure fictions placing the spectator in front of an explosion of the world, by detaching themselves from the usually normalized or traditional aesthetics, fiction initiates dialogues, it helps to continue the plastic story, to support the imperceptible forms and sometimes misunderstood by the public, finally a dialogue that helps to reconnect with the tradition of songs, dreams or myths, a heterogeneous logic of fiction dedicated to giving meaning to the evening lights .

“The only life that is exciting is the imaginary life. »

Full Journal: 1915-1941, Virginia Woolf"

An Introduction to Babbarra Textiles by Bobbie Ruben
Australian printmaker, textile designer and educator (*)

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this exceptional multidisciplinary exhibition of art and design from Maningrida in Arnhem Land. Arnhem Land is a land in the remote north of Australia belonging to the Aborigines; it is three times the size of Belgium and has a population of just 16,000, many of whom practice the oldest unbroken art tradition in the world.

Over the past 15 years I have had the absolute privilege of working with Deborah Wurrkidj, Jennifer Wurrkidj and Susan Marrawar; courageous, dedicated and inspiring women. Although these artists create works of art in multiple media, I will comment on the textile works on display and, more specifically, the screen-printed textiles - my area of ​​expertise. The textiles shown here also include fabric linocuts, where unlike screen-printed textiles, each piece is a unique unique print.

Aboriginal textile production began almost 50 years ago in remote community art centres, but it is only in the last 10 years that we have seen a rapid expansion in the creation of these printed textiles. by hand. Over the past five years, these textiles have won awards at national Aboriginal art and fashion events, been exhibited nationally and internationally, acquired by collecting institutions and commissioned by major companies and brands. high-end design and fashion. The Babbarra Women's Art Center has been at the forefront of this movement and now has a remarkable collection of over 100 large format textile designs.

Their aesthetics and visual beauty sell the textiles, but their appeal to consumers is enhanced by the important cultural stories encapsulated in the designs/patterns. Valued for their vitality and jovial nature, textiles communicate a rich history of spiritual belief and material culture that draws inspiration from ancient traditions, ancestral stories and natural environments. Bush foods, animal and plant life as well as household objects such as collection bags, fish traps, mats and food dishes are represented in the textiles. The screen-printing technique lends authenticity and crispness to the finished product, capturing the original feel and integrity of the artist's hand, while embodying cutting-edge design.

Textiles are a starting point for invention and renewal: they occupy a niche position in the indigenous arts market as a high-end cultural product conveying country and culture, and as an economic enterprise offering many opportunities for artists in the fields of art, design and fashion. In remote Aboriginal communities where economic development opportunities are rare, textile companies have created an active and motivating work environment, a place of intergenerational exchange and a real capacity for economic development, employment, education and shift.

It is very exciting that Aboriginal textiles from the Babbarra Women's Art Center have arrived in Paris and I will let you imagine all the possible opportunities in France for these amazing textiles. I hope you enjoy this exhibit."


(*) See detailed biographies