In recognition of NAIDOC Week 2020, we are spotlighting some of the most inspiring Indigenous creatives around. Here we talk to the talented designer of Ngali, Denni Francisco and discuss her ongoing collaboration with Indigenous artist Lindsay Malay.
What is your name?
Denni Francisco, a proud Wiradjuri woman.
What does the word Ngali mean?
Ngali translates to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in a number of Aboriginal languages. And through our brand, we’re creating the ‘us’ we’d like to see: a harmonious, sustainable and equitable union of people with our culture and country.
You collaborate with the incredible indigenous artist Lindsay Malay, how did you two meet?
I met Lindsay at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in 2018. I was captivated by his story and how it translates into his artworks. Our connection paved the way to create a collaboration that we still enjoy to this day.
Our journey began in Darwin but spending time on Country with Lindsay and his family soon after gave me an even greater connection to his personal journey, his passion for Country, for his family and his ability to tell his story through art. I love that as two Indigenous businesses we can work together on something we are both passionate about.
What is the process of collaboration between you and Lindsay?
We choose the artworks together. As a textile artist I translate those artworks into fabric prints. Translations are agreed upon by Lindsay to ensure the translations are respective of his stories.
Tell us about your design aesthetic and the meaning behind some of your pieces?
We work to ensure that the artwork is the hero in our pieces. Our design ethos is all about easy dressing.
Garments that can be worn anywhere so even though the majority are silk they are not kept for special occasions. We want to have wonderful Indigenous artwork not only displayed on the walls but also to walk the streets anywhere in the world. That way we share our stories and celebrate our culture with a wider audience.
You were recently at the VAMFF 2020 finale show – tell us about that?
We have been grateful to be invited to participate in MFW and VAMFF each year since we commenced in 2018.
We see it as a way of not only promoting Ngali as a brand but most importantly bringing Indigenous artwork, fashion and creativity more and more into the spotlight.
Tell us what NAIDOC Week means to you?
As First Nations’ people we have much to celebrate about our culture and also our Country. Naidoc is the opportunity to share in that celebration with all Australians. It is an exciting time for us.
How can others get involved with NAIDOC Week in a meaningful way?
There are so many events listed on the NAIDOC website that people can attend and/or learn about. In Victoria, to account for any restrictions there is also a variety of virtual events.
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