Historical information

Standing proud, still here, the spirit of ten ancestral matriarchs adorned in contemporary ceremonial cloaks. Representing our women past, present and future, her Spirit, our culture, our Country (spelt with a capital for its importance and this is part of First Peoples protocols on acknowledging Country, our strength, our resilience and healing towards a sustainable future). The black swan cloak refers to the black swan of Geelong and Ballarat were the swan has had its own fight to survive during the early colonial years where white swans were introduced by colonisers and the black swan fought back as they do not naturally get along. The wave pattern is taken from a traditional shield pattern held in the Melbourne Museum, South Eastern archive collection of shields. The wave refers to the water and travelling across water to fish, hunt and survive. This cloak is about survival, water, and the swan living on the water. It also refers to a contemporary dance of Kunuwarra the black swan, which was performed by a group Wadawurrung women (including artist Deanne Gilson) for Tanderrum (Melbourne – Naarm) in 2016. The dance is available to watch on youtube.

Physical description

Black swan, heart motif with water design on outer cloak, female figure and red native flower design on lining. Solid black trimming. Cloak is machine sewn and handstitched with hand stitching on shoulder seam.