Image credit: Gracieuse Amah, TAKEBACK! 2021, photos by Deshani Berhardt

Vicki Kinai

Weaver

"Weaving with textile, plastic, and nature, anything flexible has been my practice since childhood. As a child, I learnt to create by way of weaving with my grandmother, mother and aunties growing up in my village in Mt Hagen. I learnt to weave before I went to school.

A bag known as Bilum in Papua New Guinea is woven with a continuous figure eight stitch using twisted bark fibre, cotton, and wool. The woven bilum comes in all shapes, sizes patterns and varying uses, including carrying babies.

Since I migrated to Australia, 18 years ago and living in Melbourne, the City of Art I knew I had in me unique culture, gifted to me by my grandmother, mother and aunties. I realised the need to PRACTICE it for safekeeping. Also, I am obligated to teach young people from my own cultural background while living away from my country of origin, and this is exactly what I do as a senior person living here in Australia.

I am at peace when I design and create something from nothing, I have taught the weaving skill to a lot of people over the years that I have lived here in Australia.

I have won awards, as Cultural Ambassador with MAV and Aunty Sana Award during the Pacific Arts Festival as the only person sharing my culture connecting and reaching a lot of people in the community.

I have worked in collaboration with both local and international artists on different projects including Indigenous, Asian, Pacific, and African artists most of whom are weavers. Currently, am a senior member of an Art Collective ‘Mata’ala Weavers, a closed group that I teach weaving to our own Pacific Islander youth and mothers monthly.

I am very active in the community in Wyndham, making art with families, youth, and Seniors. Also, I have been awarded two commissioned artworks by Melton and Wyndham Councils."

Vicki Kinai. Photo by John Kinai.

Projects