Colour and creativity is filling the small island of Mornington, located in the Gulf of Capentaria with local female artists working with designer and curator, Grace Lillian Lee at Mirndiyan Gununa Mornington Island Cultural Centre.
Exploring how art meets fashion, Lee has partnered with the arts organisation to help launch MiArt Designs, handcrafted wearable art manufacturers.
Their fashion pieces are vibrant and colourful, rich with Indigenous designs that reflect the culture and country of Mornington Island and will be showcased at fashion shows around Australia including Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair and the Indigenous Runway Project, part of the Virgin Melbourne Fashion Festival. They are also for sale through Etsy and the gift shop at the National Gallery of Victoria.
27-year-old Torres Strait designer, Lee told NITV that the atmosphere in the studio has been friendly, lots of ‘yarning and giggling’.
“The artist love to listen to Allan Jackson and Elvis and even have boogie between paintings. Netta, one of the artists, particularly loves to get into dancing in the environment. The space is a nice cool place where the artist can tune into creating.
"It has been an amazing experience, not only developing me as a person, but also my career. It has shown me the possibilities of how art can meet fashion and how empowering it is for the communities to use this platform."
“It has been an amazing experience, not only developing me as a person, but also my career. It has shown me the possibilities of how art can meet fashion and how empowering it is for the communities to use this platform. It’s also has shown me how art can help with engaging the youth back into art centres.”
Lee said that the project has been a lot of fun, particularly since the artists decided that they were going to model their own pieces.
“We had rehearsals in the afternoon, learning a little about posture and presentation and how to just enjoy being in the spotlight and it was wonderful seeing how the artist themselves were naturals! I think they really enjoyed the experience of seeing their art become wearable.”
While the pieces themselves are beautifully eye-catching, it was the recent photoshoot, before MiArt hosted a fashion show, with the artists modelling their creations that drew significant attention to the project. Dressed in white, the ladies and Aunties from MiArt Designs posed in front of the pink wall at the Mirndiyan Gununa Mornington Island Cultural Centre in a unique and effective fashion campaign.