The Arts – Fashion and Culture
The Discovery Maps are interactive platforms exclusive to Jajoo Warrngara. Students are invited to journey across the land, engaging with each community on Country, exploring the cultural knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Welcoming visitors to Country has always been an important First Nations protocol. A Welcome to Country from each community has been built into the Discovery Maps for viewing prior to exploring the theme-based cultural content shared.
The Wagilak, Pitta Pitta and Bangerang communities have shared cultural knowledge about their traditional and contemporary arts practices. Within the Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps resources, there are compass worksheets that can be used to navigate Country. The compass worksheets include inquiry questions, basic comprehension tasks and extension activities for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks. Students are invited to explore the communities using the compass worksheet – either independently or in small groups – before reporting their findings and interests back to the class in yarning circles.
In this unit, students explore the process of creating a traditional possum skin cloak and gain insight into the meaning of the cultural markings used. They study the contemporary Indigenous fashion industry, with a specific focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers.. They delve into the diverse and rich history of First Nations’ arts, recognising its profound significance as a form of cultural expression and identity. Students discover the evolution of traditional clothing design and materials into the contemporary fashion world where First Nations creations are highly sought after in the mainstream markets. Thoughtful discussions on ethical considerations related to cultural appropriation are encouraged.
At the heart of Jajoo Warrngara are the communities that lead the work on Country. We would like to acknowledge all of the communities contributing to the Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps content. These include the Elders, Storytellers, Songmen, and Custodians of the Wagilak; Pitta Pitta and Bangerang communities.
Tailored Classroom Protocols have been developed in direct conversation with Traditional Custodians. The guides directly relate to cultural knowledge shared by the Wagilak; Pitta Pitta and Bangerang communities. Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps Protocols
- What is the significance of First Nations art as a form of storytelling and cultural expression that reflects the deep connection between First Nations’ peoples and their land and cultures?
- What are the ethical considerations in the fashion industry related to cultural appropriation, and how can we promote responsible fashion practices that respect and honor Indigenous cultures worldwide?
- How has the evolution of traditional clothing styles and materials influenced contemporary fashion designs that are sought after in mainstream markets?
- What distinguishes appreciating and respecting First Nations art and cultural practices from cultural appropriation?
- How can individuals actively support and promote First Nations artists and artisans, and what are the key considerations in ensuring cultural sensitivity and acknowledgment?
The Arts - Fashion and Culture Lesson 1
- Engage with the Diversity of Arts Discovery Interactive Map
on Jajoo Warrngara and watch the Welcome video from the Bangerang peoples.
- Using the Map of Indigenous Australia | AIATSIS identify where each of these communities are located.
- Watch the Bangerang films about specific carvings and the possum skin cloak on the Arts Discovery Maps platform.
- In a yarning circle, facilitate a discussion about the films. Some questions to support this conversation are as follows:
- What were your initial thoughts and feelings about the films?
- What artistic style was used in the Bangerang artworks and carvings?
- What were some of the tools and methods used to create the possum skin cloaks?
- How is ochre utilised in the artwork, and what significance does it hold forFirst Nations communities?
- How does Country and the environment affect the types of art produced within a community?
- How is art used in First Nations ceremonies? Have you seen this in other cultures or places you know?
- In what ways does First Nations art serve as a form of cultural expression and storytelling? How does it reflect the deep connection between First Nations peoples, their land, and ancestors?
- What do the Bangerang films and artworks in the Arts Discovery Maps reveal about the diverse cultural expressions and storytelling traditions within First Nations communities?
The Arts – Fashion and Culture Lesson 2
- Explore the fascinating history of fashion and the influence Indigenous cultures have had throughout history. Ensure that discussions consider the nuances of Indigenous fashion, acknowledging that many aspects considered 'ancient' are still culturally significant today in ceremonies and specific communities.
- Provide students with resources, such as books, articles, and online references, to research the history of fashion and Indigenous fashion elements, so they can create a visual timeline divided into distinct historical periods, such as:
- Ancient Civilizations
- Medieval Era
- Industrial Revolution
- Modern Fashion
Some references to support this research include:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art - Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Fashion section - The Met provides an extensive timeline of fashion history, including sections on indigenous fashion.
- Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) - Fashion Collection: Their online platform offers virtual exhibitions, images, articles, and detailed information about the evolution of fashion over the centuries.
- Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Special Collections - Digital Collections: FIT offers a digital archive containing historical fashion materials, including some related to indigenous fashion.
- Indigenous Fashion Week Australia: A platform showcasing the work of indigenous Australian designers and their connection to culture through fashion
- In groups, students conduct in-depth research on each era and identify key fashion trends, garments, and styles that represent the characteristics of each period.
- They find images, illustrations, and references from various sources, including historical texts, art, and fashion archives, to create a Timeline of Fashion. This can be done as a collage in art books or multimedia presentations using digital media software such as Adobe Fresco (free for schools).
- In their collages, students should include examples of Indigenous garments, motifs, materials, and designs that have influenced fashion throughout different periods.
- How does Indigenous fashion contribute to global creativity and trends? How can we celebrate this influence whilst ensuring we provide acknowledgement and approach it with cultural sensitivity?
The Arts – Fashion and Culture Lesson 3
- Students research the provided resources on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and Indigenous cultural appropriation around the world. Some links to support their research are as follows:
- In a yarning circle, encourage thoughtful discussions on the ethical implications of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry. Encourage students to explore the impact of mainstream markets seeking Indigenous-inspired designs and its effects on Indigenous communities. Look at the nuances between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.
- Assign students the Compass Fashion and Cultures worksheet.
- Students answer the questions on the Compass Fashion and Cultures based on their understanding from their research and discussions.
- How are Aboriginal groups preserving their culture through traditional practices such as cloak making and carvings? What are some examples of this?
- How can we distinguish between showing genuine appreciation and respect for First Nations art and cultural practices compared to appropriating them?
- What are some key considerations in ensuring cultural sensitivity and acknowledgment?
- What can we do as individuals to support and promote First Nation artists and artisans while also showing respect for their cultural heritage? Why should we care about this, and are there reasons why some people might not see it as significant?
- Research Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brands that have gained popularity on the international stage. How have these brands effectively showcased their unique artistry and cultural heritage to a global audience?
- How does wearable art create a platform for Indigenous artists to express their cultural stories and traditions through innovative and contemporary designs? Research notable examples of wearable art pieces that integrate Indigenous cultural elements.
- In what ways can you personally contribute to supporting and promoting First Nations artists and artisans while ensuring their cultural heritage is respected and celebrated?
The Arts – Fashion and Culture Lesson 4
- Following on from the last lesson, discuss the significance of culture as inspiration for art and fashion. Remind students of the ethical considerations when exploring Indigenous art and fashion. Encourage students to explore their local natural resources and cultural heritage as sources of inspiration to create their own wearable art piece.
- Students will design their own wearable art inspired by the surroundings in their area, drawing from both their personal, natural, and cultural stories. On the worksheet provided, or digital media software program such as Adobe Fresco, students create their pieces.
- Students name their piece and write about the meaning behind their designs and the stories they aim to convey through their wearable art.
- Have each student or group present their wearable art pieces, explaining the cultural inspirations and significance behind their designs.
- Engage in a class discussion about the importance of wearable art as a platform for self-expression, cultural representation, and celebration of cultural diversity.
- Reflect on the experience of creating wearable art and the lessons learned about respecting and appreciating Indigenous art and cultural practices