Denni Francisco, Founder and Creative Director of Ngali, answers some of the questions we have been asked as we launch our Mingaan Collection for Spring/Summer.
Ngali prints have been translated from the artwork of Lindsay Malay from the Warmun Art Centre In the Kimberley. How did this working relationship come to life? And what inspired you to work with Lindsay?
I met Lindsay at the 2018 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair where there was a representation of some 65 art centres from across Australia. Two of Lindsay’s paintings really stood out for me and as it happened he was there at the time. I was transfixed by his story and his connection to his Country. He was also very open to the vision I had for Ngali. There began a wonderful collaboration and friendship – reinforced by the time I spent out on Country with him and his family.
Please tell us the inspiration behind this the Mingaan collection.
This, our latest collection is in celebration of Family which is deeply important to both Lindsay and myself. Mingaan, the name of the collection, translates to Elder Sister and I have chosen the name to honour my sister and the great love she brings to our extended family.
Translates to ‘journey’. This print recognises the journey that families take together.
Girra girra (pink)
Translates to happy. This print acknowledges the happiness families experience when they come together in the spirit of connection.
Translates to gift. – It honours the gifts that family members bring to each other.
Can you share more of the story that makes up this collection?
Ngali's design ethos is to have the print be the hero of the silhouette whilst adding a touch of something that might be unexpected.
Having selected the artwork along with the Artist, we work to translates it in a respectful and acceptable way, with the Artist's approval. Whilst respecting the story of the artist, the translation of the artwork helps tell the story behind the collection. For example how does the artwork translation in this collection align with the celebration of family.
The ripple effect of the pleating acknowledges the ripple effect of family and thus community culture. The colours show the connection of Country.
The reversible garments show there are more than one way to see things and in families this helps us to be open minded and allow space to see something from a different perspective.
The embroidery acknowledges the threads that hold families and communities together.
The tactile feel of our fabrics reminds us of the importance of softness and lightness. Soft against the skin, the connection to self, a lightness of being and treading lightly on Country.
What did it mean to you to win the National Indigenous Fashion Award in August this year?
Through the medium of fashion, Ngali gives more people access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander culture. Some of Australia’s most talented Indigenous artists live in places one has maybe never heard of, and maybe never seen. By taking the stories of incredible artwork beyond wall display and onto garments to walk the streets and show up in a myriad of places around the world we have the opportunity to share and celebrate more of our culture.
Given our vision is to work through a collective lens, winning the fashion design award has given us a greater opportunity to achieve the overall best outcome – celebration and meaningful success for all.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future generations of the Indigenous creatives?
I am super excited by the creativity that exists and continues to emerge in the talented space of Australia’s First Nations. There is so much excitement surrounding this potential, I can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve, grow and be celebrated through the lens of Yindayamarra – fashion that shows respect, is polite, considered, and gentle to Country.