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Supporting Artists’ Journeys | Kieren’s Story

Jun 15, 2021

The ongoing support from our DAAF community is crucial to our Foundation’s work, and enables us to continue to support our 70 Art Centre Members, and their artists and Arts Workers, across Australia. The impact of our donor’s generosity is felt by the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People throughout DAAF’s programs. A shining example is the amazing artist Kieren Karritpul from Merrepen Arts! The exciting young artist took out the 2020 NIFA Textile Design Award and is going from strength to strength. 

Hear some of his journey below.

Kieren has been participating at DAAF for many years and is represented by Merrepen Arts. In 2014, Kieren won the Youth Award at the 31st Telstra NATSIAA in Darwin for his stunning length of silk-screen printed fabric – “Yerrgi”. This recognition was a ground breaking moment for textile design!  Kieren’s talent was again acknowledged in 2020 when he was nominated for the inaugural NIFA Textile Design Award proudly supported by RMIT University and philanthropist Ross Bonthorne.

“If I was to win, I’d be proud and happy. My family will be hugging and congratulating me, and seeing my family and everybody in the community happy.”  – Kieren Karritpul.

Kieren won. The award came with a cash prize and support from the School of Fashion and Textiles, the Ngarara Willim Centre at RMIT University.

Images | Yerrgi Orange Fabric, Kieren Karritpul, 2015, courtesy of Merrepen Arts.

Charlee Fraser wears Yerrgi Fishnet, textile design, Kieran Karritpul, dress by Raw Cloth, 2020, photo by Georges Antoni for marie claire.

Since the award announcement, Kieren has been hard at work printing, painting and designing. He’s currently working on a textile collaboration with a major Australian fashion label, as well as a major exhibition to be announced soon.

“I am excited for the future,” says Kieren. “This year many new doors have opened for me, it is very exciting what the future holds.”

Kieren’s journey really highlights how our donor programs support the career pathways of artists – from participating at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, to Country to Couture, to winning a NIFA and now on to participating in Indigenous Fashion Projects! Thanks to the support of our donors the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation has been able to provide  many amazing and unique opportunities. 

We can’t wait to see what Kieren does next! 

Our Foundation invites you to join the DAAF family and support more artists like Kieren.