Melbourne Museum Adds Non-Binary Artist Jackie Wu’s Work To Rainbow Threads Exhibition
Melbourne Museum has added another breathtaking garment to their Rainbow Threads exhibit, dedicated to showcasing iconic fashions and moments in history from Melbourne’s LGBTQI community.
The first of five garments to be revealed were Georgie Stone’s character Mackenzie’s wedding dress from Neighbours on Trans Day of Visibility, followed by an embellished cape worn by Gomeroi drag icon Dorreen Manganini at the beloved Xchange Hotel in South Yarra unveiled on IDAHOBIT (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia).
The third addition to the exhibition revealed in celebration of International Non-Binary Peoples Day on July 14 2023, is a dress entitled ‘Monument’ from non-binary artist Jackie Wu.
Jackie Wu grew up in Beijing, a creative spirit in a family of academics. They moved to Melbourne in 2015 to study fashion, inspired by the theatricality of Alexander McQueen and Dennis Rodman’s trail-blazing gender-fluid fashion. Launching their label Wackie Ju after graduation, Wu created a brand that “is the expression of my spirit in physical form, experiencing the difficulties as a non-English speaking immigrant navigating the society and encountering, embracing myself into the chosen queer family in Naarm is the most wonderful joyride.”
Look 1: Monument from the Wackie Ju 2021 couture capsule collection The Body of Sacred and Torment, pays “tribute towards the transgender community” by presenting the body in a garment constructed using “design elements to mimic the process of monuments being done by sculptors.”
“We build our lives, the once-in-a-lifetime individual experience. Some are different but still only live once. This life shapes us and leaves the most sentimental history on our beings. As if we are the sculptors of our own monument of life, every single touch is irreversible and important,” Wu told Star Observer.
‘My Work Is Always Political’
The collection was based on the “immortalised body monuments of the transgender community” using sculpting methods applied in literal and metaphorical methods to the garments. The collection features ceramic trans flag details by Caelan Blake and artfully manipulated materials like Tyvek, power mesh, textured cotton jacquard and construction techniques that reference the process of sculpting. “These elements represent the fragility and resilience trans community goes thru the transformation to internal liberation,” says Wu.
Receiving rave reviews for their 2023 Australian Fashion Week debut from Harpers Bazaar and being listed as a Vanguard ‘designer to watch’ in Vogue, Wu is now adding an exhibition of their work at the Melbourne Museum to their long list of accomplishments.
They’re quick to recognise just how significant this moment in their career is, “it is a major message to be sent into the world to have the representation of the transgender community. My work is always political.”
See Jackie Wu’s work and the Rainbow Threads exhibition from 9 am-5 pm. Tickets included with regular Melbourne Museum entry.