The hoodie jacket, sometimes associated with youth alienation and crime, will be celebrated as a symbol of cultural pride and strength in an arts project aimed at giving positive direction to a group of 15 at risk Koorie youths.

Kooriez in da Hood project, organised by the Koorie Heritage Trust,was directed by three leading Indigenous artists, Brook Andrew, Bindi Cole and Nikki Ashby, mentoring the at risk Koorie youth.

The project has involved three months of weekly workshops to develop artistic concepts and stencil techniques, selecting the designs for hoodies, and a 2-day screen printing workshop at SpaceCraft at the North Melbourne Meat Market.

The hoodies created by the young Koorie artists are being exhibited and were presented in a hip hop fashion parade at the Koorie Heritage Trust on 18 February 2010, and will be displayed with Bindi Cole’s photographs of the project there until April 5, where the community will also have the opportunity to purchase a very limited edition Koorie hoodie.

Grant Balcombe the group’s spokesperson and Tjapukia/Western Yallangi man living in Melbourne says Our forefathers wore kangaroo and possum skin cloaks to represent their origins and tribal affiliations¦ The Kooriez in da Hood project gets us back in touch culturally to create hoodies that represent us and our culture through our eyes.

Koorie Heritage Trust Chief Executive Officer, Jason Eades, says the Kooriez in da Hood project is a cultural approach to involving Koorie youth in a program that is relevant to their daily experiences and can also impart some positive life skills.

We’re reclaiming hoodies as a source of pride, rather than something to hide your shame and guilt in.

Along the way, the participants will be learning artistic and technical skills, right through to creating their own street fashion item.

We’re hoping that some of the designs may even end up in commercial production as an independent fashion label. This is street wear that everyone can relate to, but with a distinctly Koorie flair.

That would be a great result for young Koorie youths who are seeking a sense of purpose and direction, Mr Eades said.

The long term vision for the project includes a second stage where participants undertake a product development and marketing workshop, with a view to marketing their artwork and/or setting up their own small arts business enterprise.

Kooriez in da hood exhibition from Friday 19 February to Monday 5 April 2010
Opening Hours: 10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Good Friday)

Proudly supported by the City of Melbourne Indigenous Arts Grants Program 2010.

Catch a look at the fashion parade on