Fashioning a memory

Discover the hidden tales of African diasporic textile artists that reveal unique cultural influences and creative processes.
Muhubo Sulieman. Photo: Supplied. A young woman wearing a colourful purple, pink and yellow headscarf, sitting on the grass and weaving. She is in a joyful mood, smiling and working.

Transcending the fashion industry and consumer culture, fashion as a concept presents a meaningful vehicle to explore oneself. As a form of self-expression that combines various elements of art, it can encompass a wide range of styles, designs and aesthetics that reflect individual tastes, societal norms, cultural and historical influences.

When the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) announced the landmark exhibition, Africa Fashion, African diasporic textile and fashion industry practitioners in Victoria began gearing up for a moment to be seen and celebrated for their contribution as culture keepers within the art and fashion industry.

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Dorcas Maphakela is a multidisciplinary creative combining writing, visual arts and holistic well-being advocacy in her practice. She is a South African-born Mopedi woman who relocated to Australia by choice in 2007 and became a citizen in 2012. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Johannesburg and holds a Master of Arts in Writing from Swinburne University of Technology. Dorcas is also a TV presenter, public speaker and founder and producer of the Antenna Award-winning OZ AFRICAN TV (OATV). She is the co-founder of Yo CiTY, a platform that champions the culturally diverse experience through Art & music. Her work was acknowledged with a Media Award from the Victorian Multicultural Commission for “outstanding reporting on issues of importance to diverse communities and reporting which contributes to Victoria’s cross-cultural understanding” (VMC).