Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, Mirvac Retail, Winter Art Installation: Artist Interview

This year the Art Pharmacy team continue to bring Birkenhead Point Centre to life through exciting installations by a number of established Australian artists, including Jo Neville AKA Paper CoutureSky CarterMon Bedwell, and now, Luke Power.

The latest artist to contribute to the Birkenhead Point Installation Series is Luke Power, a Sydney based emerging artist. Luke talked to Art Pharmacy Consulting about Australian Fashion, Indigenous representations and sustainability within art and fashion.

“Fashion is all about pushing new ideas of shape, style and design for the body," says Power. "This installation is an artistic interpretation of the exciting elements that Australian fashion delivers. Themed around woven textiles, the work brings Indigenous textile work into a new dimension that plays with the sculptural possibilities of fabric on the body.”

In what ways do you think you've promoted sustainability and Australian fashion in this work?

“The fashion industry in Australia has had recent attention regarding sustainability, particularly for issues on wastage from excess stock ordering and discard at the end of each season. I have collaborated with a fashion orientated charity that tackles this very issue, Thread Together. In their daily activity, they collect brand new excess stock from leading brands in Australia and distribute them to agencies that serve the community through clothing, women’s shelters helping women escape domestic violence and homeless shelters.”

“Their service resolves some of the sustainability issues in the fashion industry. Many brands at Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre have made donations to Thread Together, and have also provided some of the materials in this installation.”

Another important sustainable element of my work is the electrical component. I have used LED lighting inside all my light boxes, keeping electricity usage at a minimum, maximizing the switch to green practices.”

The installation at Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, Sydney. Credit: Art Pharmacy Consulting / Jodie Barker

The installation at Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, Sydney. Credit: Art Pharmacy Consulting / Jodie Barker

In what ways have you incorporated Indigenous prints?

“Indigenous prints have been incorporated into this installation in two ways. Firstly, the material printed at Injalak Arts in Northern Territory has been used on the bodies of the mannequins to create dynamic sculptural forms.”

 “Secondly, this same print imagery has been enlarged and transposed to sheets of wood, which were cut out and stained to sit in a light box creating a sculptural presence of Indigenous hand-woven forms. Permission was granted from the Elders at Injalak Arts to use the printed material and motifs in this transformative way at Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre.”

Do you think there's currently enough emphasis on Indigenous fabric print in Australia? Is this changing?

“Australian fashion takes its cues from international trends, which often causes an overlook of our own design work here in Australia. There have been top designers who have collaborated with Indigenous artists, but it is more or a rarity rather than common practice. I see our Indigenous art practice as rich and full of beauty and possibility for fashion designers, a true inspiration of art.”

What are you hoping this work will do for people visiting Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre? What experience do you want them to have?

“I want people to say “WOW” to find these sculptural forms inspiring and exciting. I want to give Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre shoppers a unique artistic and cultural experience that is not available in any other centre in Sydney like it is here.  

This work celebrates Indigenous culture that mixes art with glamour, style with chic. Shoppers should arrive amazed and leave feeling they have participated in a shopping experience unique to Mirvac Retail.”