Fashion and the environment will converge when models take to the catwalk on the opening day of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair this Friday.
Garments by Hopevale Arts Centre, Indij Design, Mossman Gorge’s Uki Burchill, Stradbroke Island’s Chantal Henley, Yarrabah Arts Centre, MI Art, Leecee Carmichael, Lynelle Flinders, Simone Arnol and others will be showcased in the event.
The fashion extravaganza will feature 20 female and male models from communities across Queensland and be held in a repurposed World War II oil tank within the Cairns Botanic Gardens precinct.
North East Arnhem Land model Magnolia Maymuru, a finalist in last year’s Miss World Australia competition, is mentoring the models ahead of the catwalk event.
The show, entitled ‘Wandan’, meaning future in Yidinji language, will make both environmental and fashion statements.
“Wandan will be a creative and dramatic interpretation encompassing two worlds – the mainland and its infrastructure and climate change and rising water temperatures causing coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef,” CIAF fashion performance curator Grace Lillian Lee said.
Ms Lee is working with choreographer Fiona Wirrer-George and musician and producer Patrick Mau on a two-part performance.
The first will showcase the textiles and designs of 10 Queensland-based Indigenous fashion designers. The second will be a contemporary finale underpinned with the cultural practice of storytelling.
Dancers Hans Ahwang, Ebony Wirrer-George and Elouise Yunkaporta will come together from their homes in the Torres Strait, Coffs Harbour and Aurukun for the show.
A highlight is expected to be the opening drumming and fashion showcase by students from Kubin Ngurpay Lag school on Moa in the Torres Strait.
Ms Lee worked with children at the school to create garments inspired by their land and the colours of a Great Barrier Reef affected by rising water temperatures.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair runs until July 17 and celebrates Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with the work of 300 artists and 75 performers. It has generated more than $5 million in art sales since it first started in 2009.