The Bilum Em I life Exhibition was launched at the National Museum and Arts Gallery as an education centre for Bilums this week.
The partnership between United Nations Population Fund, Goroka Bilum Weavers and The National Museum is to educate the population on the hidden messages behind the different bilum designs.
Goroka Bilum Weavers representative, Florence Jaukae in her remarks spoke about the different patterns, the meanings and how the patterns came to be.
“Bilum em mama, It is a culture that needs to be respected, protected and preserved for the future generation.”
“Our bilums are as diverse as we are, across all our different traditions, designs and materials,”
Jaukae said the Skin pik, Fallopian Tube, Half Diamond, Diamond, Mountain and Spider Web all had their own story and the meaning behind the design.
“For Example, the Skin pik pattern came about to represent the marginalised women in the community. The diamond pattern is associated with a young girl’s journey into adulthood and the spider web pattern represents patience.”
UNFPA Country Representative, Marielle Sanders that this exhibition is important as it is part of UNFPA’s efforts to raise awareness surrounding the empowerment of women in Papua New Guinea as well as their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
She added that the bilum patterns a way for women to communicate about milestones and challenges faced by women in their journey from adolescence to adulthood.