Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Women of Boneca de Atauro are Here!

Firstly an apology to all of you following this story and who have helped with the fundraising for not telling you sooner that at the eleventh hour we did get visas-  and did get flights to Melbourne and that the four Boneca de Atauro women, Virginia Saores, Maturina Araujo, Tachya Gorrette and Jacinta da Costa safely arrived in Melbourne. There were quite some anxious nights and moments in many parts of the world and it was with immense relief that we welcomed them in Melbourne at 6.40 am last Monday after they flew overnight from Darwin.

What a relief it was to see Tachya's smilling face!

Of course they were exhausted from the nervous wait for visas and the overnight flight and the much colder climate in Melbourne. The first day we walked around and visited Saint Patricks Cathedral as these women come from a strong Catholic community- Melbourne is so different than Atauro Island and it is fun seeing it with the eyes of the women. The second day we also walked around, Melbourne is big and we indulged in sushi which they love because it has rice!

Photographing each other on the walk bridge across the Yarra River.

Wednesday we set up their display and prepared everything in readiness for Thursday.

 My daughter Siena Galtry  came by to see the display.

It has been non-stop since! We did manage to get the treadle machine going with some help from some of the stall holders I know and Maturina's mechanical skills. Jacinta has been demonstrating printing with the linocuts she and Aguida and Virginia have made.

All round people have been so welcoming and it has been lovely to touch base with some of you who supported the fundraising- It means so much to these women who come from a tiny island at the bottom of the Timor sea. This event is huge for them and a big step and risk- to hear you say that their stand is your favourite makes them glow with a well deserved pride. The fact we did it all ourselves without the help of any governments or NGO's , but with help from you ,the people who believed in this project, is a tribute to their willingness to work incredibly hard and their tenacity to succeed for the women who work in the co-operative on Atauro Island and dare I say it- the power of the textile community!

I would also personally and on behalf of the women from Boneca de Atauro ,like to thank Sarah Louise Ricketts for her incredible support, for accommodating the women's stay whilst in Melbourne for this event and for believing in this project. I would also like to thank Judy Newman and Expertise Events for the opportunity to exhibit at such a wonderful event as AQC, and for the stand space to allow the women of Boneca de Atauro to exhibit their work and demonstrate their skills.

We thank you dearly for the opportunity you have given these women to grow, to see and to experience and to show what they do so well.

Tomorrow after the  event we will indulge in a few touristy things like Puffing Billy and the Healesville Animal Sanctuary as they want to see koalas and kangaroos and then Wednesday they will go home with many stories and I hope smiles on their faces ( after another overnight flight).

This last image is a detail shot of a piece designed  made by Maturina Araujo  and Eva especially for this event. It measures 2.4 metres by 1.8 metres and has been entirely stitched by treadle machine. The background cloth is Turquoise and the red you see is entirely the result of free motion stitching- awesome or what?