The breakthrough fashion exhibition Piinpi: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Fashion, will tour to Paris next month. It will be Piinpi's third season after its highly anticipated launch at the Bendigo Art Gallery (BAG) in late 2020 and second showcase at Canberra's National Museum of Australia in 2021.
"(It's) the first major survey of contemporary indigenous fashion," says BAG director Jessica Bridgfoot, "It highlights the ongoing storytelling traditions, the importance of Country and the focus on sustainability for First Nations artists and designers."
Piinpi, named for the changing seasons on Country, will show at the Australian Embassy until April as part of the federal government's Australia Now France 2021-22 with funding by Creative Victoria. Its residence will also happily coincide with Paris Haute Couture Week in January and Paris Fashion Week in February/March.
"This beautiful exhibition highlights the exceptional work of Australia's First Nations artists and designers," said Her Excellency Gillian Bird, Australia's ambassador to France, "And places indigenous voices and artistic expression at the centre of the global fashion agenda."
Piinpi was originally curated by BAG First Nations curator and Southern Kaantju woman, Shonae Hobson to focus on a unique Australian phenomenon - fashion by designers and artists straddling contemporary trends and 60,000 years of indigenous cultural heritage.
Hobson says she picked designers such as Grace Lillian Lee, Lisa Waup and Lyn-Al Young from a range of urban and remote studios across Australia for their "pushing and blurring of the boundaries between art and fashion" and their synchronicity with fashion's modern agenda of sustainability, ethical production and minimal waste.
"We've always thought ethically and consciously about sustainability and waste," Hobson says. "For thousands of years we've only used the resources we need. Now the rest of the world's catching up."
Watch Shonae Hobson's video tour of Piinpi: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Fashion.