Local Indigenous fashion empowers and inspires

Singer Jada Weazel

PHOTO: Performer Jada Weazel

Garments created by a Central Queensland Indigenous fashion collective will be in the spotlight at a showcase event at Rockhampton Museum of Art (RMOA) in September.

Woorabinda Fashion for Wellbeing is a group formed by Western Kangoulu woman Laurita Hill in response to the desire of Woorabinda community members to create a culturally safe space for personal expression and make a positive difference to their community.

Under the guidance of local artists and facilitators, members design and create garments and with the aim of displaying them locally and beyond.

The RMOA event will be the first time the garments have been seen outside Woorabinda. It will include a fashion parade featuring models of all ages from Woorabinda, walking the runway to a soundtrack of music created by recording artists with connections to the town.

Woorabinda-born and bred emerging singer / songwriter Jada Weazel will also do a special live music performance at the event. Born and raised in the Aboriginal community of Woorabinda, Jada’s passion for music was nurtured from an early age. Surrounded by a family deeply rooted in songwriting and performing, Jada was exposed to the enchanting melodies of iconic musicians like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys. Drawing inspiration from these empowered voices, she found solace and fulfillment in the realm of R&B and soul music, eventually crafting a sound that is uniquely her own. Under the mentorship and guidance of esteemed songwriter and musical mentor Stephen Collins, Jada’s artistic maturity flourished, allowing her to pen authentic and heartfelt lyrics. With her debut EP out on 1 September, this will be a very special opportunity to see Jada perform live.

The event will also give young local hair and make-up artists an opportunity for professional development outside of their community.

Lead facilitator of the collective, artist and designer Laurita Hill said that through artistic expression, the group fosters social and emotional wellbeing and healing for members and community.

“Woorabinda Fashion for Wellbeing is inspired by Elders who have continued leading, educating and inspiring future generations to overcome past traumas forced upon First Nations communities, to create the resilient people we are today,” she said.

Rockhampton Regional Council Communities and Heritage spokesperson Cr Drew Wickerson said Rockhampton Regional Council was delighted to be able to provide this opportunity for Indigenous artists.

“Not only is this RMOA showcase event a great opportunity for the public to see some of the creative designs that have come out of this Central Queensland collective, but it is also a fulfilling and empowering experience for the people involved,” he said.

RMOA Showcase: Woorabinda Fashion for Wellbeing is on at RMOA on Saturday 9 September, 5.30 to 8.30pm.

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