9 October – 24 November, 2020

Connecting Cultures showcases wearable collections from Indigenous Australian brand, Gillawarra Arts and Colombian brand, Mami Watta Collections, highlighting pieces crafted using ancient methods and materials.

Gillawarra Arts specialises in contemporary Aboriginal artwork and jewellery that embodies the memories, language and culture of the Worimi people. Gillawarra Arts is owned and operated by Krystal Hurst, a proud Worimi woman with ties to the Biripi. Krystal designs the jewellery herself and also paints and has been recognised nationally for her practice.

As part of Worimi philosophy, all materials for Gillawarra’s wearable and canvas art are sustainably sourced, and the pieces are made by Aboriginal artists. Krystal also facilitates workshops around Australia, including previous work in the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATISAA), Craft ACT’s Emerging Contemporaries Exhibition and participant of the Indigenous Jewellery Project.

Mami Watta Collections collaborates with Latin American artisans specialising in traditional needle weave beading to create handmade pieces. Its founder Ana Maria Parada partners with the Embera Chami and Wayuu tribes of Colombia to bring their traditional crafts to Australia, and channel income back to these artisans to promote sustainable community lead development. Ana Maria herself is of Indigenous Colombian descent, and now lives in Sydney. She co-designs the collections herself and also runs beading workshops around Australia promoting the craft.

Ana Maria Parada and Krystal Hurst are both passionate about spotlighting Indigenous cultures, ways of creating and existing that extend beyond strictly western practices. Culture encompasses everything from adornment to community organisation. Mami Watta and Gillawarra exist at the intersection of those two practices. 

As part of Sydney Craft Week Festival 2020, the brands have joined forces to bring you an Indigenous fashion show, followed by a panel discussion where the makers and guest artists will share insights into their journey of healing art forms and discuss the continuing cultural value of adornment. 30% of profits donated to support the cause to stop black deaths in custody and you can learn more about the event and book here. 

Mami Watta Collection:

Mama Tierra (large), $900
Luz Mila Wazorna for Mami Watta Collections

Cosmic Waterfall, $350
Luz Mila Wazorna for Mami Watta Collections

Image top: Wearable Art, Gillawarra Arts, 2020, Photo: Jay Cronan
Image bottom: Embera Chami Beading, Mami Watta Collections, 2020, Photo: Gilbert Belbachir

Mamiwatta Collections