With a love for the Australian bush and a desire to diversify her collection in a new direction this season, Pia looked to aboriginal art for fabric design. The result was a spectacular collaboration with emerging artist Louise Numina Napananka.
She commissioned three paintings especially for this project which translated beautifully onto fabric. These paintings which are currently on display in the Brisbane Arcade boutique – Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Medicine Flowers and Bush Yams - are three dreamtime stories from Louise’s Anmatyerre heritage.
The Bush Medicine Leaves in its shades of green, jade and turquoise was printed on deluxe silk. Launched as gala gowns in the MBFF and Brisbane Arcade parades it literally took people’s breath away.
The Bush Flowers and Bush Yam in shades of blue and turquoise have been printed on cotton producing practical a day wear and race wear collection suitable for the Australian climate. All three designs proved to be real crowd pleasers.
Jane Lewis, ofwww.raintreeart.com.au explained that Louise Numina’s painting tells a story. By painting about her dreamtime the artist is paying homage to the spirit of the medicine plant in the hope that it will regenerate, enabling the people to use its healing powers.
Bush Medicine Dreaming (two paintings Bush Medicine Leaves and Bush Medicine Flowers): Bush Medicine dreaming depicts the leaves of a special plant that is used to aid the healing process.
The leaves are collected and then boiled to extract the resin from the leaves. This resin is mixed with kangaroo fat collected from the kangaroo’s stomach. This creates a paste that can be stored for up to six months in bush conditions. This medicine is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites, rashes and also as an insect repellent.
Bush Yam: This painting depicts the seed (kame) of the pencil yam (atnwelarr). In the Dreamtime two seeds were born and created two types of pencil yam. One seed was named Atnwelarr for the Alhalkere country and the other seed was named Arlatyeye for Arnumarra country. The pencil yam is a staple source of food for Aboriginal people. The women from Alhalkere, Utopia in Central Australia perform ceremonies to ensure its perpetual germination. The seed (Kame) is also used as bush medicine for its healing qualities as eye soothers.
By using Aboriginal designs in fashion, Pia intends to stimulate a cross cultural interest in current and future clients. She hopes that clients will ask the question ‘What do these patterns symbolise?’, ‘Who is the artist?’, ‘Why does she paint like this?’. Each garment has a special swing tag with a photo of Louise Numina in the process of painting and stating that ‘By purchasing this you are paying homage to the Anmatyerre culture’. The tag has contact details for further information and art purchases. It is hoped that people will love her work and continue to purchase her paintings as they did at her first solo exhibition held at Kenmore Gallery, which was organised to coincide with the Brisbane fashion parades.
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