January 22-29, 2009
DONNA KARAN Stephan Weiss Studio 711 Greenwich Street (Corner of Charles Street) NYC
Urban Zen (founded by fashion designer Donna Karan) is hosting at the Stephan Weiss Studio a presentation of Australian aboriginal art and culture inspired by the Australian government’s reconciliation movement. The week-long G’Day USA Australia Week is offered in the spirit of an apology (sparked by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology Speech of February 13, 2008 to the country’s indigenous citizens) and the promise of cultural cooperation. The spotlight on Australia’s Aboriginal culture, the oldest continuing culture in the world, is part of Urban Zen’s wider cultural preservation and youth empowerment mission.
On view for this week is a collaborative multimedia project Nomad Two Worlds created by Australian fashion photographer Russell James together with Indigenous Australian artists, including Walmajarri singer and painter Clifton Bieundurry. The painted photographs of Northwestern Australia evoke the sacredness of the land and a dual cultural portrait of Australia’s “Two Worlds”, those of European and Aboriginal heritage. The exhibition is curated by Lisa Fox, proprietor of the IF8 Studio, and the artworks are divided into three concepts: Innocence (element of water), Inhibition (element of fire), and Discovery (element of stone). These three aspects parallel the tripartite focus of Urban Zen, which are framed by the past (preserving cultures), present (patient advocacy and well-being), and the future (empowering children). Urban Zen honors the transformative power of creativity and compassion to raise awareness.