Better World Arts

We are delighted to be in partnership with Better World Arts (BWA). This ground breaking social enterprise has been working cross-culturally since 1996 – bringing the talent and skills of artists and artisans together to make superb Fair Trade handicrafts. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, this enterprise has generated economic, social and cultural benefits for Aboriginal artists around Australia and artisans in Kashmir, India and South America.

“In essence, it is Australian Aboriginal art expressed via Indian Kashmiri handicraft,” says Carolyn. And thus at BWA, a collaboration was born using the cultural craft heritage of the Kashmir region, and the traditional art of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands of Central Australia. While both forms are so distinctly different, they are also similar in many ways, not least that they have survived centuries, handed down to artists and artisans from generation to generation. The techniques used are unique to both their regions, and both are legacies of their culture .

IndianLinkNews 2014
Better World Arts cushion covers are much loved – vibrant, textured and hard wearing

The first and still very popular products in the BWA range are Kashmiri chain stitched (embroidered) kilims. Browse our fantastic variety of Better World Arts rug/wallhanging kilims here in different sizes. Plus we have a large and very beautiful selection of cushion covers in 30 and 40 cm sizes here.

Detail of a BWA chain stitch kilim based on a painting by Warlpiri artist Stephen Jupurrula Nelson

I met Carolyn Wilson, founder of BWA, in 2004 whilst doing a consultancy in the APY Lands preparing marketing plans for art centres for Ananguku Arts. The work took me to Iwantja Arts, Kaltjiti Arts, Tjala Arts, Ernabella Arts. I was gobsmacked by this terrific fair trade project that Kaltjiti Arts was doing – original paintings were being interpreted in embroidered (chain stitched) wool on Kashmiri kilims . As a textile nut, the artisan skills and use of wool appealed to me and the rendering of Indigenous designs in rugs and cushion covers was attractive, tactile and such a brilliant collaboration. At the time when I discovered she was only working with the one art centre it seemed a shame. This project has the potential to go wider and create benefits for many more artists. I later encouraged her to work with other art centres and introduced Better World Arts to Warlukurlangu Artists and Injalak Arts.

To learn more: this informative article gives insight into Better World Arts.