Batchelor Institute » Visual Arts Students Take On National Art Fair
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Visual Arts Students Take On National Art Fair

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Batchelor Insitute Visual Arts Lecturer Brigida Stewart with Model Magnolia Maymuru


The work of visual arts students from Batchelor Institute was showcased at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. The From Country To Couture fashion parade featured 20 unique designs from students in four different communities.

The show celebrated the place that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary art has within high-end fashion. It also featured Magnolia Maymuru from East Arnhem Land, whose shortlisting at the Miss Universe Australian national finals modelling competition made headlines early this year.

The students have been developing a range of artistic skills within their courses at Batchelor Institute. Whilst learning to work in textiles, they have turned their artwork into patterns and one-of-a-kind outfits using a number of different sewing techniques.

Batchelor Institute visual arts lecturers Brigida Stewart and Amanda McMillan have guided the students through the whole process.

“We take them through how to read a pattern, how to cut fabrics out, how to use a sewing machine, how to put it all together, how to unpick, how it fits on a body. All that sort of stuff. It’s a really big collaborative work,” said Ms Stewart.

The collection was a representation of the different styles produced by Batchelor Institute students over the past couple of years and featured screen-printed patterns, Utopian batiks and digitally printed textile designs. The garments were created by students of varying skill levels, who are undertaking certificate I through to IV in visual arts.

“You’ve got students at all different levels. There are students who want to learn how to do a painting or a design and then you’ve got students that want to learn how to start their own business selling their designs. So it ranges from how to put together a design to how to market all your designs,” said Ms McMillan.

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The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair hosted more than sixty art centres from across Australia. These Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned centres represent over 2000 Indigenous artists.

“It is extremely rewarding when you see a student get to their final product and cry. They just go, ‘I can’t believe I did that’. And when they see other people looking at it and having so much respect for it, they glow. It’s gorgeous. I think that in itself is a massive reward,” said Ms McMillan.

“Particularly when you know that they have been talking to other people about it. Then all of a sudden these people turn up and say ‘where is your work? Show me what you have been talking about’. So they show these people what they have been doing and you know they are really happy and excited about what they have done and that they will remember those skills going forward,” added Ms Stewart.

For more information on Batchelor Institute’s Visual Arts courses click here

To see more photos of the final products and the fashion show, take a look at the slideshow below.