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Local Indigenous models to celebrate culture in fashion performance

February 20, 2018 Events / Whats On No Comments Email Email

Local Indigenous models this week took part in workshops to prepare for a unique contemporary fashion show Intertwined that will premiere on the 14 and 15 April at Kurrawa Park in Broadbeach for Festival 2018, the arts and culture program of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).

Intertwined – featuring 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander models – is a fashion performance combining dance, music, art and textiles to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Curated by internationally acclaimed fashion designer and artist Grace Lillian Lee, the event has been created in partnership with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, empowering women to express themselves and connect with their lineage through dance, music, textiles and fashion.

In the lead-up to the event, Grace Lillian Lee works with local designers, taking each participant through the design process to transform their artwork into wearable art.

Working with creative collaborator and choreographer Fiona Wirrer George, the workshops then connect the models with the designed pieces and explore movement, song and dance to create a performance which showcases the work in a contemporary fashion show.

For Melbourne Fashion Festival 2016 and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Fashion Festival 2015, Grace Lillian Lee curated a similar event, Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal (translating to Rainforest and Sea Dreaming), which performed to critical acclaim.

Tipped as one of the most influential people in Queensland, Grace Lillian Lee is a multicultural Australian artist and fashion designer known for drawing inspiration from her Torres Strait Islander roots.

Grace Lillian Lee has showcased in San Francisco, New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney, and her work has been acquired by South Australian Museum and National Gallery of Victoria among others.

Intertwined will be staged at Kurrawa Park in Broadbeach, an enchanting art playground set to surprise and delight families at Festival 2018 Gold Coast. Festival 2018 at Broadbeach is proudly presented by The Star Gold Coast.

Intertwined is one highlight of Festival 2018 Gold Coast, 12 action-packed days of culture taking over the coast from 4-15 April celebrating GC2018.

Grace Lillian Lee’s artwork will also be part of the Mixed Blood exhibition running 30 March – 15 April at TANK 4 in Cairns as part of Festival 2018.

For full program details and more information on Festival 2018 visit

Minister of the Commonwealth Games Hon Kate Jones:

“Festival 2018 celebrates the spirit of the Commonwealth, showcasing Queensland’s creativity and capturing the unique lifestyle and culture of Queensland, its diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

“GC2018 is the first major event of its kind to include a Reconciliation Action Plan and projects like Interwined will not only leave a positive impact on the youth involved, but are key to delivering a Games which leaves a lasting and meaningful legacy.”

GOLDOC Deputy CEO Brian Nourse:

“This project is a fantastic example of the community collaboration that is taking place behind the scenes which forms part of the legacy that Festival 2018 will leave behind.

“Taking inspiration from their culture, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth share their culture and stories through Intertwined on this unique platform with the world.

“This is a key priority of our arts and culture program that aligns to objectives outlined in our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to celebrate our state’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in locally authentic ways.”

Designer, artist and fashion curator Grace Lillian Lee:

“Intertwined is about pushing the boundaries of fashion and culture, and coming together to celebrate diversity.

“The process is about creating pride and preservation of culture with the event giving the young Indigenous people involved a different view of their culture, mixing the old with the new.”

Festival 2018 Gold Coast Co-Creative Director Kate Fell:

“Intertwined is an exciting fashion show with integrity and culture, embodying the notion of the Festival’s third act, Aspire.

“What Grace does is empower other people she works with; you watch these performers and models who haven’t necessarily modelled before, and the sense of empowerment is quite amazing.

“Intertwined works on so many levels. The fashion is stunning in its own right and it’s so connected to the culture. The confidence of the models being on stage plays a big part within the event. But it’s not just a fashion show. While fashion is the core of it, the dance, music and design are all key.”

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