Occupying a special niche in the visual art world, wearable art is a form of sculpture that can be worn and displayed on a human body. At least, that has been my lay impression as a spectator at the extravaganza that was 2016’s Wearable Art Showcase in Mandurah, an experience that left me wanting more of this intensely creative experience.
A competitive art show, with distinct categories for aspiring designers and creators to enter, the entries are limited only by imaginations and the laws of physics. Even then, the determination to express their innovative ideas sees many artists devise ingenious workarounds! The five categories of avant-garde, architectural, Oceania, youth and Tertiary Student leave broad interpretation to the artists which leads to delightful diversity for spectators.
In 2016 this led to creations such as a burlesque steam engine and a walking historic pillar, ball gowns influenced by steam punk and environmental concerns, sweet summer outfits with intriguing engineered twists and intensively ornate works featuring handcrafts of felting and origami that catch the eye and then boggle the brain with the amount of work involved. Entries arrived from around Australia, with word beginning to spread and resulting in some international entries.
Organisers at City of Mandurah have embraced the peculiarities of this artform and throw a showcase event at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre to celebrate the works. Using members of the local community as models for the works, Artistic Director Helen Duncan shuns a straightforward catwalk display in favour of a multidisciplinary celebration of music, lights and performance to emphasise the qualities of each work. Using local musicians, theatrical creatives and choreographers, the Showcase is a showstopper, allowing each costume to be displayed in a memorable manner.
Two performances will run in 2017, before the works are collated into an exhibition for longer display. While tickets for the show at 6:30pm on Saturday 10 June have nearly all sold, there is still a chance to see the Sunday matinee performance at 2:30pm. An enhanced performance for people who are blind or vision impaired is also offered, including audio description and a tactile tour at 1pm on Sunday.
Tickets are $34 for standard adults, with concessions and group discounts available. For more information and to purchase tickets to the Showcase, visit the Wearable Art Mandurah website here.