The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) is an annual showcase of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. CIAF presents Art from more than 300 artists in a curated Art Fair, exhibition, Art market, dance, music and theatre. This year Peace Lutheran College was asked to participate in CIAF. It was the first time a school participated in the event.
As a result, a group of Peace Lutheran College students set about printing fabric and designing outfits for the CIAF Fashion Parade. The Peace fashion collection consisted of eight full outfits. The designs were complete with jewellery and elaborate head and neck adornments. The outfits were the creative works of five students who come to Peace from remote communities across the Gulf, Cape and Torres Strait. Each piece has been made from eco-printed silk, cotton and wool. The fabrics were printed with ethically sourced natural materials and traditional dyes collected from country.
The students explained that printing is about country; how it provides for us and will continue to provide for future generations if cared for correctly. It is important to us that we are responsible in the gathering of natural resources for our creations. The only footprints that remain are ours and those of our ancestors. As the next generation of leaders, it is imperative that we learn from our elders to be the messengers of the future to carry the knowledge and traditions and lore of our people.
These talented young designers are Peace Lutheran College boarding students from Year 11 and 12. They are members of the newly formed Peace Textiles Group that meets weekly after school to dye fabrics, design outfits, create body adornments and sew garments. The students’ final outfits were on show at CIAF and the College NAIDOC Day celebrations.
The Peace Textiles Group is selling scarves under the label, A Peace of Art. The one-of-a-kind pieces of art are unique eco prints on silk, cotton and wool.
What the CIAF experience means to our artists.
“This is special to me because I have wanted to be involved in CIAF for years; since moving to Cairns in 2015. It is really lovely to see Indigenous people showing their designs. Personally, I feel excited that I am involved in this and proud to be representing Peace and myself as an Indigenous person.”
La Schaya Body Yr 11.
“I love being creative and artistic. It means a lot to me because, at first, I was not into this but because the teachers believed in me I wanted to take the opportunity to be in CIAF. This small group shows how important our culture is to us. CIAF gives us a chance to show the outside world our traditions and culture. I am a proud young woman representing my country and culture.”
Jean Wosomo Yr 12.
On conclusion of the CIAF fashion parade the artists were asked to share their thoughts and feelings;
“I didn’t expect it to be so good; it was a blast. I walked out on stage with a huge smile on my face. It started as an idea and we are so proud that we did it. We were a great team. It took us a great deal of time but we didn’t give up. It was stressful at times but the end result, the actual night, was amazing.”
Nardia Amini Yr 11.