Aunty Vicki Kinai (pictured here, photo by Nik Harrison) will be teaching a series of 3 workshops in PNG Bilum making every Thursday from the 15th November 6-8pm at Colour Box Studio. It’s only $20 a session so come along and share some stories and learn a new skill. You can join at any stage and do 1,2 or 3 sessions. To book online (click here).

Here’s some of her story:

From “Bilum bilong Mam (Womb)” to Bilum Bag

I was born at Pake Poi No, a river in the jungles of Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea to Opeka Kanlemb Madia Yoko (deceased) and Koika Peamo Korowi Mandin in November 1968.

Soon after I was born, I was laid inside a special ‘Kunungu Walg that Mum had made as I was growing inside her for 9 months.

The bilum bag is where I spent most of my time from birth to when I was able to walk on my own.

I was wrapped in leaves, and woven bilum and my mat was made of pandanus to support my back. As I was growing up I always recalled my Mum and Grandma saying, “You can not get anything done if your baby is in your hands. The baby must remain in the bag at all times and not be taken out of the bilum”.

That is how it was in the communities of Papua New Guinea.

I am now making bilums because this is important to me and passed on from my Grandmother and Mother. I want to share the knowledge of making bilums because Australia is where I choose to live now and by teaching others to make bilums I feel connected to the people around me. Also I believe that making bilums brings people of all cultures together.

Vicki Kinai

To book for these workshops and find out more online (click here).

Aunty Vicki and Manu. Photo by Rachel Main.