Dazzling and brightly coloured textiles inspired by the Australian landscape are the feature of Linda Jackson and Utopia, a display of work by female artists from the Gallery's contemporary Australian fashion and textile collection.

Linda Jackson is an icon of the Australian fashion industry. For more than forty years, she has produced bold, vivid textiles, works of art and garments, pioneering a vibrant and unique Australian look inspired by Australian traditions.

Jackson began her practice in the early 1970's, a time of great cultural and artistic energy and excitement in Australia. In fashion, the constraints of 'cultural cringe' had begun to give way to the exploration of national identity. Jackson's printed, hand-painted and appliquéd textiles and paintings incorporated opal, gum-leaf, Sturt's desert pea and waratah floral motifs in bright colours.

Jackson has worked collaboratively with many Australian artists and designers, most notably fashion designer Jenny Kee, with whom she ran the renowned Flamingo Park store in Sydney from 1973 to 1978. With Kee, she produced the 'Flamingo Follies' fashion shows - brilliant extravaganzas that became famous for their energetic combination of art, fashion, performance and music.

In 1982 Jackson began a partnership with Aboriginal women at Utopia Station, in the Northern Territory, and produced textiles and garments that drew on the artistic traditions and landscape of Utopia. The women of Utopia had learnt the traditional Javanese technique of batik to generate income before their successful 1979 land claim.

The display features a selection of exquisite batik from 1982 and woodblock prints from the 1990 Utopia suite, demonstrating the continuity of mark making and oral traditions across generations of women. These works are shown alongside garments and textiles from Jackson’s Utopia collection and other recent acquisitions from her archive.


Rebecca Evans