Gertie Deeral with Alice Walker and Presiah Ross Hart in her Yarrun (wattle flower) print. Image: Sarah Mackie for Magpie Goose.

Hopevale artists share stories through textiles

Artists from Hopevale Arts have been collaborating on textile and fashion projects resulting in a collection of clothes and earrings featuring the bold and colourful Hopevale designs. Hopevale, located just north of Cooktown on the Cape York Peninsula, is home to thirteen clan groups who mostly speak Guugu Yimithirr language. Hopevale was originally established as the Cape Bedford Mission, so residents traditionally come from lands across Northern Queensland. The designs from Hopevale tell rich stories of connection to land, stolen generations and forced movement across the state, memories of childhood and mission days, bush foods and native flora and fauna.

The artists involved in the project include Dora Deemal, Madge Bowen, Grace Rosendale, Wanda Gibson, and Gertie Deeral. Magpie Goose arranged Publisher Textiles in Sydney to complete the screen printing, after which the fabric was sent to tailors in Bankstown. Once the clothes were made, fashion company Magpie Goose returned to Hopevale for a community launch. Information sources from: magpiegoose.com

Gertie Deeral talking about her -Yarrun (wattle flower) print “Different signs in the bush tell you the different seasons of the year, what things you can touch, what you can use, and what you can eat. When you see that the wattle is in bloom, you know that the sea foods are ready to go – the crabs and the prawns are fully grown and ready to catch. The fish, sea urchin, oysters, even the turtle are fat and really yummy. I don’t know what time of year it is but we just look at the wattle in bloom, then we know! Our grandfathers and grandmothers didn’t know the months of the year – they’d just look at the flowers.”

Main image credit: Gertie Deeral with Alice Walker and Presiah Ross Hart in her Yarrun (wattle flower) print. Image: Sarah Mackie for Magpie Goose.

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