A new screen printing studio at Gunbalanya is behind a new couture collection that was showcased recently at Melbourne Fashion Week.
The modern studio at Injalak Arts enables the organisation to capitalise on the growing national and international interest in Indigenous textiles.
Featuring two new 14-metre printing tables, the studio now has more space and increased capacity to produce artisan fabrics.
It is one of a small number of hand-printed textile operations across Australia providing a bespoke alternative to mechanised bulk printing.
Injalak artists collaborated with designer Ally Beahan on the one-off collection that was revealed at Melbourne Fashion Week as part of the Ganbu Marra runway.
The First Nations runway event also featured textile designs and fashion collections from Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts with Aly de Groot and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists from Alice Springs.
Upgrades to Injalak Arts were co-funded by the Northern Territory and Australian governments, with the NT contribution funded through its $30 million Arts Trail Gallery Extension Program.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chansey Paech:
“The upgrades to Injalak Arts represent a significant funding investment and partnership to ensure the wonderful screen printing work in Gunbulanya can expand to suit market demands.
“The Territory has a rich history of creating fine art and hand screen printed textiles featuring Aboriginal designs in remote Aboriginal owned art centres, and the Territory Labor Government is really very proud to support infrastructure upgrades to meet the growing demand for Aboriginal art and cultural experiences.
“I have no doubt the work of Injalak on show at Melbourne Fashion Week has already turned many heads, and will inspire visitors to come to the Territory to experience firsthand the dynamic production of Aboriginal hand screen printed textiles.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Arafura Lawrence Costa:
“Arafura is home to many great artists and the fabrics that can now be produced at the revamped Injalak Arts studio add to the creative pool of works.
“It was wonderful to see the range from Gunbalanya showcased at Melbourne Fashion Week and I know that Injalak’s success will inspire more artists from across the Territory.”
Quotes attributable to Injalak Arts Manager Michael Stitfold:
“The Indigenous textiles market is really gaining traction and we are expecting to see an increase in demand that these upgrades will allow us to meet.
“Being able to display at Melbourne Fashion Week is a great way to stimulate demand in our work and get our two new tables really firing with quality lengths of hand printed textiles.
“There is a real appreciation for hand printed fabrics from the source and buyers are really looking for unique products that show a social conscience.”
CAPTION: Velda Nabulwad models a dress made from Injalak fabric printed in Gunbalanya. Photo courtesy Nina Haigh, Injalak Arts.