Cairns Indigenous Art Fair traces development of Indigenous fashion in Queensland in new exhibition

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Cairns Indigenous Art Fair traces development of Indigenous fashion in Queensland in new exhibition


Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is celebrating First Nations fashion, wearable art, photography and performance in a new exhibition.

On exhibition at the Court House Gallery, the exhibition Fashion Story is showcasing some of the best fashion moments from CIAF and has been inspired by the region’s historic textile and design movement.

The exhibition aims to showcase Queensland First Nations design, wearable art and performance that has been seen in the lead up and during the pandemic.

Born from the Regional Indigenous Fashion and Textiles Showcase, the Fashion Story exhibition is an ensemble of some of the most creative works of art in the fashion and design space in Cairns.

Co-curated by Francoise Lane of Indij Design and CIAF artistic director Janina Harding, Fashion Story exhibits previously undisplayed garments from CIAF shows across 2020 and 2021, disrupted by COVID.

Spread across three rooms in the Court House Gallery, Fashion Story is a carefully curated exhibition with works on display from White Sands Collection, Kamara Australia, Flora and Fauna Nomore and Murrii Quu Couture.

Co-curator Francoise Lane said the entire exhibition has been thoughtfully designed to do the art pieces justice.

“In terms of how the collections are laid out, it allows people to experience each collection as a standalone, beautiful piece, before moving on to another collection beside it,” she said.

“We purposely didn’t jampack the courtroom with collections so that the viewer would have that room to appreciate the collections on display because they are all so different and unique.

“CIAP made invisible mannequins also which allow for the garments to be seen without the distraction of a mannequin.”

Exhibiting some of the artists and designers best work during the COVID period, Lane said the time during COVID lockdowns gave the artists an outlet for their creativity.

“The creativity was essential as an expression during this time where people weren’t so much mixing with each other,” she said.

“And it gave them time to invest further in what they were producing.

“So just the level of detail in some of the collections, Irene Robinson who create the White Sands collection.

“One of her pieces is inspired by oysters on the rock. You look at it and you can see the layers of fabric look like the crusty outside of the oyster shell but then it also has this beautiful sheen like the inside of the oyster in the way that she uses a different kind of textile.”

The theme of CIAP this year was Masters of Country, a theme Lane wanted to keep in mind while curating the exhibition.

“There was a real intentional focus on connection to Country and with CIAP’s theme this year being Masters of Country we thought let’s really focus on that.

“It was a snapshot as to where the curation was looking at how those garments best and the designers best honoured Country in that presentation.”

Fashion Story is on exhibition until July 30 as part of CIAP.


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