Raptures of Applause and Cheers at Boonkaj Fashion Parade

Raptures of Applause and Cheers at Boonkaj Fashion Parade

Celebrity Tree Park in Kununurra echoed with raptures of applause and cheers as nine Indigenous models graced the makeshift catwalk at the Boonkaj Fashion Parade, a highlight of the Boab Metals Ord Valley Muster’s Art In The Park event. Raptures of Applause and Cheers at Boonkaj Fashion Parade

A Celebration of Handcrafted Textiles

The Boonkaj Collection showcased at the parade is a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of five talented textile artists from Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, located in northeast Western Australia. Anita Churchill, Delany Griffiths, Dora Griffiths, Kelly-Ann Drill, and Cathy Ward have hand-printed unique designs on textiles, which were then fashioned into garments. This vibrant collection highlights the rich cultural heritage and artistic innovation of the region.

The Artists Behind the Collection

Delany Griffiths, a 35-year-old artist from Waringarri Arts, shared her passion for fabric work. “We use lino and carve designs on that and then block print the fabric. My designs are of carved boab nuts,” Griffiths explained. “It makes me really proud to see the models wearing the clothes made of fabric that I printed.”

Image: Dianne Bortoletto

Since its inception in 2016, Waringarri Arts’ textiles have evolved from the Dawang Linawoong Ngoondengig-gerring (DLNg) program. This initiative offers emerging artists the chance to express their cultural creativity across various traditional and contemporary mediums. Dawang Linawoong Ngoondengig-gerring, a Miriwoong phrase meaning ‘place where ideas are made good,’ focuses on fostering creativity, innovative artistic approaches, and sustainable arts practices to nurture the next generation of art leaders.

The Fashion Show Experience

Seven female and two male models walked the hessian catwalk, presenting the new Boonkaj collection to an enthusiastic audience. Each piece from the collection is available for purchase at Waringarri Arts or online, allowing a broader audience to support and appreciate these unique creations.

Fashion Show coordinator and model Brittany Pitt-Lancaster played a pivotal role in the event. “It was such a privilege and proud experience to be able to model and showcase the artists’ amazing work on the runway,” Pitt-Lancaster said.

A Growing Textile Enterprise

Waringarri Arts’ journey into textile production began in 2018 with bags and cushion covers, expanding into garments by 2019. Mentored by senior artists, the program enables artists to develop skills in stamp and screen printing techniques, producing unique fabric lengths on linens.

“Our dream is to develop textiles as a sustainable enterprise within the overall art center operations that provides opportunity for creativity with social, cultural, and economic benefits for artists and community,” stated a Waringarri Arts spokesperson.

The Boonkaj Fashion Parade is an integral part of the Ord Valley Muster, an annual nine-day festival each May. The festival features a curated program of big concerts, station luncheons, comedy shows, Indigenous culture and arts, and family-friendly festivities, marking the start of the East Kimberley’s tourism season.

A Platform for Cultural Expression

The success of the Boonkaj Fashion Parade underscores the importance of platforms that celebrate and promote Indigenous art and culture. Waringarri Arts continues to play a crucial role in maintaining cultural knowledge while providing new opportunities for artists to expand their creative horizons and contribute to their community’s cultural and economic vitality. The Boonkaj collection, along with other initiatives like Country to Couture and Kafta in Broome, showcases the vibrant and dynamic nature of Indigenous fashion and art.

For those interested in supporting this meaningful work, the stunning garments and textiles are available at Waringarri Arts, inviting everyone to be part of this inspiring journey.

The National Indigenous Cultural Centre (NICC) is an Indigenous home.
We provide Indigenous products, music, art and news.
If you want Indigenous gifts and merchandise, bush tucker food at your next event or Indigenous entertainment at your next party, expo or conference, feel free to contact us!

Visit our page: https://nicc.org.au/
Tony Clemenger.
Chief Executive Officer.
Tel: 0419431649.
Level 1 397 Chapel Street South Yarra 3141.

Source:  https://nit.com.au/23-05-2024/11560/handcrafted-textiles-showcased-at-boab-metals-ord-valley-muster-art-in-the-park-fashion-show

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