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Nancybird collaborates with First Nations artist Wendy Hubert for new collection

Phoebe Blogg -

Known for their collections and collaboration which reflect artisanship, art, the natural landscape and mindful consumption, Australian accessories and fashion brand Nancybird has launched a new collection with Yindjibarndi Elder, cultural custodian, linguist and artist Wendy Hubert.

Released this month, the new collection labelled Ngurrawaana celebrates the artwork of Juluwarlu Art Group artist Wendy Hubert.

Carried out across a carefully considered collection, Hubert's artworks celebrate the 60,000-year-old Yindjibarndi culture and the continuing management and care for their West Pilbara tableland country.

Hubert is a respected Yindjibarndi Elder, who has lived passionately and supported her Roebourne and Yindjibarndi community for more than 40 years, and this is evidently conveyed in her artworks which speak to both her culture and upbringing.

Wendy Hubert and Emily Wright pictured in the brand's campaign shoot in Darwin. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

Wendy Hubert. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

Nancybird founder Emily Wright was fortunate to spend time with Hubert in 2023 when Ngurrawaana had a very special moment on the Country to Couture runway during Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. During this trip, Wright, Hubert and Juluwarlu Art Group gathered as the sun rose for a very special photoshoot with photographer Michael Jalaru Torres.

"It's been such an honour for Nancybird to work with Wendy Hubert and share this collaboration," said the Nancybird team.

When speaking with respected art, design and lifestyle publication Frankie Magazine on the recent collaboration, the two creatives shared their inspiration behind the collection and the thrill to have been able to showcase it at Country to Couture last year.

"Working in collaboration with an artist is a big source of inspiration – new colour palettes as well as the rich background of an artist's story always bring a depth and energy to the collection," said Wright.

"Juluwarlu approached me back in 2021 with the idea of collaborating with Wendy. I loved her stunning painted landscapes and I love that her work is so unique. You really feel that you're there in the Pilbara with her. We jumped at the chance to work with such a respected and celebrated artist."

Wendy Hubert, Zali Morgan, Deahna Robinson and Ava Christopher. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

Hubert's upbringing is a significant inspiration behind the collection and her broader work as an artist.

"In the '90s, our land was flooded because of the mining and the mud was so deep we were forced to move from our Country. After my husband died years later, I was drawn to the art centre I lived near where the women in the community painted. I decided to try it for myself and I fell back in love with Country, and I've been painting ever since," she said.

"I love my Country and I fight for my Country. There is no other place more beautiful. I paint for this reason and for our elders because they fought so hard for it. My art carries on their fight. I found peace for myself as an artist and I still have that peace in my soul."

Wendy Hubert, Zali Morgan, Deahna Robinson and Ava Christopher. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

The Ngurrawaana collection offers up something for everyone to enjoy.

"I am really proud we have been able to feature Wendy's work in this collection and across these different mediums; printed flowy cotton dresses, intricate glass beaded pouches and cute leather bags. The collection also features woven checks and knits which all inspired by Wendy's colour palette," said Wright.

"When I work on collaborations, I work personally with the artist in choosing an existing artwork or commissioning a new work. We then draw the colour palette from the artwork, creating palettes for leather, knitwear and woven wear. The collection becomes a wonderful jigsaw of complementary pieces that celebrates the both the artwork and artist."

When speaking with Frankie Magazine, Hubert further conveyed her excitement to have worked on creating the Ngurrawaana collection, seeing her designs come to life on both wearable garments and accessories.

"I like to use a dark or bold block background colour to start. I always think about where the sunlight is coming from, so I can get the shadows just right. I like to paint with big brushstrokes but I also use charcoal, chalk, paint and pens and I'm always experimenting with things, she said.

"It was interesting for me to work with Emily. She chose paintings for the collaboration that surprised me, but I loved her choice and how she used them in the designs. She used them in ways I could never imagine and it is so exciting to see my paintings on such beautiful fabrics. It took my breath away. I am very grateful for this experience."

Wendy Hubert, Zali Morgan, Deahna Robinson and Ava Christopher. (Image: Michael Jalaru Torres)

Collaborating with different artists each season, Nancybird strives to champion these artists and their work by bringing their work to life on textiles, leather and more.

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