Posted by Jade | December 1, 2023
BOONKAJ Collection has launched!
Introducing the BOONKAJ Collection by Waringarri Aboriginal Arts: A fusion of culture, storytelling, and artistry.
BOONKAJ - a Miriwoong word meaning ‘emerging’ or ’appearing’- celebrates the emergence of textile designs from Waringarri Aboriginal Arts. Inspired by traditional knowledge of bush plants, and fostering the maintenance of cultural traditions, artists have created a unique range of plant inspired motifs, hand printed onto fine textiles.
Supported by Elders, BOONKAJ (pronounced ‘Boongatch’) is more than a collection of beautiful garments, it is also a regenerative project, honouring culture and storytelling whilst supporting the well-being and economic livelihoods of local First Nations women in the East Kimberley.
With the support and encouragement of local Elders, the BOONKAJ collection emerges as a testament to the enduring connection between First Nations women and their cultural heritage. Crafted with dedication, the collection pays homage to tradition while igniting contemporary fashion.
The BOONKAJ collection explores the wisdom of bush medicines, including design motifs that narrate local stories of Gerdewoon (boab nut), Jamarndaj (bush fig), Mejerren (black plum) and Moorrooloomboong (prickly wattle). These motifs are more than patterns; they embody the rich cultural legacy passed down through generations.
Artists Anita Churchill, Kelly-Ann Drill, Delany Griffiths, Dora Griffiths, and Cathy Ward have seamlessly blended their expertise in art and design, resulting in a collection that speaks volumes about culture, storytelling, and innovation.
The creative journey behind the BOONKAJ collection derives from the artists of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts themselves - the colours that grace these fabrics have been carefully handpicked, mirroring the intricate tapestry of the Kimberley landscape. The artists have led the entire process from conception to launch, and have contributed to the collection's aesthetic, designs and colour palette - including requesting specific elements like easy wear, elasticized waists and functional pockets.
The BOONKAJ collection embraces quality and ethical craftsmanship, with soft linen and cotton fabrics. With a focus on sustainability, spare fabric lengths are transformed into textile bags and smaller items that are sold through the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts gallery and online platforms.
What most sets this collection apart is that every piece has been meticulously hand printed by the skilled Waringarri textile artists themselves. Each individual hand printed textile is a testament to the artist's creativity and originality. The artists are paid for the fabric and retain full copyright ownership over their designs, entitling them to copyright royalty fees for any reproductions, as advised by the Copyright Agency. By fostering the livelihoods of artists, especially young mothers, this initiative ensures economic empowerment within a remote community.
The BOONKAJ collection is more than a fashion statement; it's a tribute to cultural heritage, craftsmanship, and artistic vision. With every article of clothing, the BOONKAJ collection weaves the threads of tradition into the fabric of contemporary fashion.
This limited collection is available exclusively online from the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts website now.
Learn more about this project.
For further information, high-resolution images, or media enquiries, please contact:
Waringarri Aboriginal Arts
(08) 9168 2212
Photo credit: Timbee Photography & Jackamarra Photography.