Artist Direct, NSW
Contemporary Australian Visions, VIC
Cooee Art, NSW
Bancroft was a founding member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, one of Australia’s oldest Indigenous-run artists’ organisations, established in 1987. She served in the roles of chairperson, director, and treasurer during its first two decades. In 1985, she opened a shop in Sydney called Designer Aboriginals, selling the work of designers including her own fabrics, and staffed by her Indigenous female students. Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock and Mini Heath were the first Australian fashion designers invited to show their works in Paris, where Bancroft’s painted designs on cloth were exhibited at the 1987 Printemps Fashion Parade. Two years later, in 1989, she contributed to a London exhibition, Australian Fashion: The Contemporary Art. Despite these successes, she moved away from the fashion industry, telling an interviewer in 2005 that she had not done fabric design for 15 years. Described as “an instinctive colourist”, Bancroft has since worked primarily as a painter, and has developed “a glowing style reminiscent of stained glass windows”. She has cited as influences the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, European painters Joan Miró, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall, and Australian Indigenous artists such as Emily Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas, and Mary MacLean.
Although initially known as a fabric and textile designer, Bancroft has worked with many artistic media, including “jewellery design, painting, collage, illustration, sculpture and interior decoration”. Art works by Bancroft are held by the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Queensland Art Gallery. The National Gallery holds one of her screenprints, Entrapped, created in 1991. Between 1989 and 2006, Bancroft held eight solo exhibitions and participated in at least 53 group exhibitions, including shows at the Australian Museum in Sydney, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, and the National Gallery of VictShare