Bendigo Art Gallery has a long history of hosting stand-out fashion exhibitions. Last year it was Balenciaga; the year before that, Marimekko. Now in 2020, Bendigo Art Gallery is turning the spotlight on First Nations designers in Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion.
The exhibition, opening to the public from September, will be the first major survey of contemporary textiles and fashion by First Nation artists in Australia. Piinpi is set to feature artists from across the country, including Grace Lillian Lee, Maree Clarke, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Lisa Waup x Verner, Hopevale Arts and Culture Centre, Maara Collective, Lore, Aarli Fashion, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Lyn-Al Young (who’s been commissioned to create five new pieces for the exhibition).
The exhibition is being curated by Bendigo Art Gallery First Nations curator and Kaantju woman Shonae Hobson, who says the exhibition will be unlike anything else audiences have seen. “Throughout the gallery, we present beautifully crafted fabrics and wearable fashion items, each expressing a connection to culture and to Country through very bold and exciting ways – distinct from anything else being produced around the world.”
The exhibition title, Piinpi, is a Kanichi Thampanyu (East Cape York) term referring to changes in a landscape that happen across time and space. “For Indigenous peoples, our knowledge of the land and seasons is culturally important as it signifies the abundance of certain bush foods, when we can t