An exhibition of batiks that celebrate the genesis of indigenous women’s art practice will be opening at Bendigo Art Gallery on Wednesday, August 17.

Desert Lines: Batik from Central Australia brings together around 60 selected works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, each illustrating the unique and distinct batik styles of five central desert communities: Ernabella, Fregon, Utopia, Yuendumu and Kintore.

Batik – a method of wax resist fabric printing – was first introduced to indigenous women in 1971 and each of the five desert communities has approached the medium in artistically distinct ways.

This exhibition will highlight the significance of batik work for women of the desert and enable links to be made between batiks and the paintings of Pitjantjatjara, Anmatyerr, Alyawarr, Warlpiri and Pintupi artists.

It will also reveal differences in iconography, subject matter, palette and approaches to the hot wax and painting mediums across time and space.

Batik served as a prelude to painting on canvas at indigenous art centres across the desert.

Many of the women who worked in the medium went on to become renowned painters, including Emily Kame Kngwarray, Peggy Napurrula Poulson, Tjunkaya Tapaya, Unurupa Kulyuru and Tjunkiya Napaltjarri.

Desert Lines: Batik from Central Australia Saturday, August 17 – Sunday, November 17, Bendigo Art Gallery www.bendigoartgallery.com