Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria 2019. Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Lagos Fashion Week. Image by Stephen Tayo

Africa Fashion Opening Day Past Event


Sat 01 Jun 12:00pm - 4:00pm


Free, No booking Required


NGV International
180 St Kilda Rd, Southbank VIC, Australia


Accessible bathroom, All gender bathroom, Assistance animals welcome, Auslan interpreted, Seating available, Wheelchair accessible

Celebrate the opening of Africa Fashion with a free day of art, music, dance, and talks for all ages, curated by creative producer Dorcas Maphakela.

Developed by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London, and presented in Melbourne in partnership with the NGV, Africa Fashion showcases the creativity, ingenuity, and global impact of contemporary African fashions from the mid-twentieth century to the present day, featuring over 200 works spanning fashion, textiles, adornment, photography, music, and film.

The celebrations will begin with a talk by Dr. Christine Checinska, Senior Curator African and Diaspora Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, introducing the exhibition, followed by a dynamic program of performances and workshops curated by South African-born creative producer Dorcas Maphakela.

Uniting local African voices across music, poetry, and dance, join us for an afternoon of vibrant drop-by performances highlighting themes of love, life, and culture in Africa, in a rich celebration of African heritage and contemporary creativity.

12-12.45pm | Africa Fashion Curator’s Introductory Talk by Dr Christine Checinska
1 – 3.30pm | Music & Performance Program Curated by Dorcas Maphakela
1 – 4pm | Weaving Workshop with Qaymi Arts & Craft

HAIR DAY featuring Zarah Garbrah, Agata Saka, Thabani Tshuma and Chichi Nwokocha
DANCE | Choregraphed by Asanti Dance Theatre
HOUSE BAND | Brotha Asanti & Soulectric
DJ | Chris NG


Dorcas Maphakela

Dorcas Maphakela is a multidisciplinary creative combining writing, visual arts and holistic well-being advocacy in her practice. She is a South African-born Mopedi woman who relocated to Australia by choice in 2007 and became a citizen in 2012. She has extensive media and community engagement experience. She is a TV presenter, public speaker and founder of the Antenna Award-winning, OZ AFRICAN TV (OATV); a platform that celebrates African diaspora people in Australia. Dorcas is also the co-founder of Yo CiTY, an African-led platform that champions culturally diverse experiences through art and music and the NGV Africa Fashion Programs Co-Curator.

Dr Christine Checinska

Dr Christine Checinska is the V&A’s inaugural Senior Curator of African and African Diaspora Fashion and Lead Curator of the Africa Fashion exhibition, July 2022 – April 2023. Prior to joining the V&A, Christine worked as a womenswear designer, academic, artist and curator. Her creative practice and research explore the relationship between fashion, culture and race. Christine’s recent exhibitions include an intervention for Makers Eye: Stories of Craft, July-October 2021, Crafts Council Gallery, and Folded Life February 2021, Johanne Jacobs Museum, Zurich, Switzerland. Her recent publications include ‘Re-Fashioning African Diasporic Masculinities’ in Fashion and Postcolonial Critique, Elke Gaugele and Monica Titton (eds.), 2019. In 2016 she delivered the TedxTalk Disobedient Dress: Fashion as Everyday Activism. In industry for over thirty years, Christine has created womenswear collections for iconic British brands such as Margaret Howell, where she was a Senior Designer, during the late 1990s.

Chichi Nwokocha

Chichi Nwokocha, aka Cheech, is a Nigerian British Artmaker specializing in spoken word and theatre. With a background at the National Youth Theatre and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, she has produced events at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London, including, ‘An Evening with Wole Soyinka’. In Australia, Cheech has immersed herself in the arts scene, collaborating with Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, Theatre Works, and producing Ararat Youth Hip Hop Festival. She facilitates poetry workshops for Connection Arts Space and councils including Casey.

Zarah Garbrah

Zarah Garbrah, a hair stylist and creative based in Melbourne, is the driving force behind Embrace Your Frizzique, a haircare company transforming the way people feel about their hair through informed education, resources, and products. Built on the values of inclusivity, creativity, and self-expression, Zarah’s passion lies in fostering a culture and community where individuals can embrace and celebrate their hair.

Thabani Tshuma

Thabani Tshuma is a multi-award-winning Zimbabwean writer and performance poet. His work can be found in publications such as Dichotomi magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, CUBBY ART, and ABC ArtWorks’ SLAMMED. Thabani is co-curator of Thin Red Lines and his debut collection, The Gospel of Unmade Creation, was released in 2023 through Recent Work Press. Writing is the aperture through which he views the world and experiences self in relation to others.

Appiah Annan

Appiah Annan, a distinguished artist and choreographer from Ghana, founded Asanti Dance Theatre, starting as a small group training on the beach and evolving into a globally recognized 15-piece drum and dance theatre company collaborating with artists worldwide. In 2007, Appiah brought Asanti to Australia, where the group quickly gained prominence in the dance scene, performing at prestigious events and implementing school programs. Asanti’s success includes the acclaimed Afro-contemporary production “Sankofa,” premiered at the Malthouse in 2012. Appiah’s vision is to establish Asanti as a premier Afro-contemporary dance company, providing a platform for diverse artistic migrants to engage with the Australian dance community. Appiah’s strong community ties are evident through his workshops for youth, the elderly, and the disadvantaged, aiming to foster respect and unity. With a background in Community Cultural Development, he uses the arts to promote understanding and togetherness in society. Appiah’s extensive touring experience includes collaborations with Regional Arts Victoria, showcasing his commitment to community engagement through the arts.

Xavier Gibson

Xavier Gibson is a talented dancer, choreographer, and model hailing from Melbourne who showcases a diverse range of skills influenced by his rich Mauritian heritage and various street dance styles like Hip hop, Afro, and Dancehall. His training in ballet, contemporary, and jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School has crafted a vibrant and unique dance portfolio. Xavier’s choreography and dance talents have been featured in music videos, concept films, and campaigns for brands like Nike, Reebok, and Converse. Notable works include directing, choreographing, and performing in various projects such as music videos, concept films, and live shows like ‘Afrocentric’ at the NGV Triennial. His emotional, athletic, and powerful style has garnered attention in the professional world, leading to collaborations with renowned brands.

Brotha Asanti & Soulectric

Led by visionary Zimbabwe-born composer Brotha Asanti, with South African roots, Soulectric seamlessly blends lush melodies and infectious rhythms, fusing vibrant African percussion with New York and Chicago House influences. Their electrifying live performances, drawing from Asanti’s deep roots in South Africa, promise a unique, culturally rich experience, transporting audiences to the golden era of music.

Brotha Asanti & Soulectric bring together vibrant African percussion and the infectious underground rhythms of New York and Chicago House. This band offers a visual experience that will transport you to the golden era of music. Drawing inspiration from Africa and the underground dance scenes of New York & Chicago, Soulectric’s live performances take audiences on an electrifying musical journey. Featuring a vast range of artistic voices, Soulectric promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates culture.