When Vicki Kinai was growing up in Papua New Guinea, it was a rite of passage for girls to learn how to make their own bilum.
Making the hand-woven bags, which can hold everything from sleeping babies to food, was considered a vital life skill.
“I learnt how to do this before I went to school,” said Kinai, who now lives in Hoppers Crossing.
“Today, women make these to sell to make a little bit of money to support the family.
“If you didn’t know how to make bilum, then you’re not a woman. Every girl has to learn how to make the bag and carry it every time they go out.”
She will display a number of her bilums, among other pieces, in Weave, an exhibition that will open on June 21 at the Wyndham Art Gallery.
Kinai is among four master weavers who will exhibit an array of intricate items – including cups, saucers and an entire kitchen – created using the ancient art of weaving.
Kinai and fellow weavers Lee Darroch, Donna Blackall and Kui Taukilo will invite visitors to join a yarning circle to experience the ancient art form and cultural practice first-hand.
“I’m learning a lot from the other people I exhibit with,” Kinai said.
“It [also] gives me an opportunity to talk about my country and share my culture.”
Weave will run until August 20. Details: wyndham.vic.gov.au/whats-on/weave