With embellishments that range from Aboriginal textile art, gum leaf stencils, organza Sturt’s Desert Peas flowers, Sydney Opera House appliqué and pleated silk gum nut hats, the influences of Australia’s expansive natural landscape and rich indigenous culture on Linda Jackson’s work are far from subtle. Her career in fashion took off during the 1970s with the famed Flamingo Park, a fashion label and boutique by Jackson and fellow Australiana enthusiast Jenny Kee.
During the 1980s, post-Flamingo Park, Linda began to focus on her own solo projects with in-depth research trips throughout Australia, including visits to the Utopia Station in Central Australia, the red heart of the land. There Jackson worked with local Aboriginal communities to develop unique batik prints, returning to the city to launch her own label “Bush Couture”. Jackson worked to keep her garments locally made with natural fibres and incorporating traditional techniques of appliqué, patchwork, painting and hand-printing. The importance of sustainability was something Jackson has always remained conscious of, long before the concept was widely practiced, or even considered.
After closing Bush Couture in the mid-1990s Jackson set off to further her relationship with the Australian natural environment and its inhabitants, living in remote parts of Australia including Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland. She also extended her travels exploring other indigenous art traditions, including Africa, India, New Zealand and Asia, interpreting each culture with her own unique vision.
A retrospective of the work of Linda Jackson appropriately opened on Australia Day at the National Gallery of Victoria.