Batchelor Institute » Visual Arts Students centre stage at DAAF Fashion Show
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Visual Arts Students centre stage at DAAF Fashion Show

DAAF Fashion Show 2017

Batchelor Institute students and staff designs at DAAF’s Country to Couture Fashion Show. Images: Chelsea Heaney


The work of visual art students and lecturers at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education was showcased at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair’s Country to Couture fashion show.

The Country to Couture show celebrates the stunning creations that occur when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is transformed into street-wear and high-end fashion.

The results on display were the product of Batchelor Institute’s visual art lecturers Brigida Stewart and Amanda McMillan’s teaching within remote community art centres in Central Australia, as well as featuring the work of visual art students from the Tiwi Islands.

Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu told their stories of their land and culture.  Karen Barnes’ bird paintings were a big feature, bringing to life the Seven Sisters stories in circle skirts by Alma Granites and the expressive work by Steven Nelson.

“It’s inspirational to see the stories and painting transformed into textiles,” said Amanda McMillan.

Ikuntji Artists, a member-based, not for profit, Aboriginal art centre, created a collection inspired by the rich flora that emerges in the desert after the summer rains, with vibrant colours and bold patterns.

“There is a real #slowfashion potential here that needs to be harnessed and what better way is there than to personally support these artists and art centres” Brigida Stewart said.

The Tiwi Island Sistagals, who have been studying visual arts at Batchelor Institute, unveiled a range of clothing they created within a two-week intensive workshop. The Sistagals Inc collection was produced, presented and modelled by the students themselves. It was a first time for many of the students in creating and designing their own clothes.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair showcases the contemporary fine art of over sixty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres at its annual event. The fair is held in Darwin, on Larrakia Country, at the Darwin Convention Centre.


Words and images by Chelsea Heaney.

Take a look at some of the stunning designs modelled on the night in the slideshow below: