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Article: Mainie: Empowering Aboriginal Women Artists

authentic ethical Australian Aboriginal art fashion

Mainie: Empowering Aboriginal Women Artists


At Mainie we are committed to supporting Aboriginal women to earn an independent income from their own work and preserve their unique cultural heritage for future generations.

When we first launched our debut Mainie collection of beautiful silk scarves, wraps and kaftan tops in 2015, we showcased authentic Aboriginal art designs by Warlpiri women artists from Central Australia. 

warlpiri aboriginal women artists

warlpiri aboriginal women artists

The Mainie fashion story began with the purchase of original paintings by 11 Warlpiri women artists from the world acclaimed Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. These paintings provided the first designs for our highly successful 12 piece debut collection.

Warlukurlangu is an Aboriginal owned and controlled art centre located at Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community on the traditional homelands of the Warlpiri people in the Tanami Desert region of Central Australia.

Established in 1985, Warlukurlangu has long been an important stronghold for the preservation of the Warlpiri language and culture.

aboriginal women's art ethical traditional

Photo courtesy of Warlukurlangu Artists, an Aboriginal owned and controlled arts centre located on the traditional homelands of the Warlpiri people in the Tanami Desert region of Central Australia.

Each and every Aboriginal artwork design in the Mainie fashion collection has been ethically acquired and reproduced under licence in accordance with the Indigenous Art Code.

Royalties from Mainie sales are paid to the Aboriginal artists.

Mainie provides a vital source of income to the Warlpiri women artists at Warlukurlangu, who still live on their ancestral homelands in remote communities and at isolated outstations where there are few opportunities for paid employment.

Mainie’s financial investment in Aboriginal owned arts centres through our artwork purchases and payments of art licensing fees and royalties helps to support the economic development of Aboriginal communities.

Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else”.

This is certainly true in Aboriginal communities where women play essential roles in caring for families and maintaining strong connections to their traditional country and culture.

The exquisite Aboriginal art designs displayed on Mainie fashions depict ancient Dreaming stories that have been handed down to the artists through many generations of their ancestors over tens of thousands of years.

Due to the isolation of their desert homeland, the Warlpiri people were among some of the last Aboriginal tribes in Australia to make their first contact with white people.

The Mainie collection includes art designs that were painted by Aboriginal artists who were able to recall their first encounters in the twentieth century with Europeans on their tribal country.

tanami desert warlpiri homelands sacred site water dreaming

Water Dreaming sacred site on the Warlpiri homelands in the Tanami Desert

To this day, the Warlpiri people maintain an unbroken physical and spiritual connection to their country and traditional culture. They still speak their own language, and if and when they do speak English, it is usually as their third or fourth language.

Every Mainie fashion garment is specially designed to bring to life an ancient Aboriginal Dreamtime story as a lasting and meaningful heirloom piece.

Our current Mainie collection is comprised of over 20 authentic Aboriginal artwork designs, including some created by Aboriginal artists from the Far North  Queensland region.

Our collection is available in our online shop:

Mainie fashions are worn and loved by discerning and stylish people around the world.

Each luxurious, authentic and unique Mainie “wearable art” piece is treasured as a tangible celebration of the world’s oldest living culture.

Mainie is an Indigenous Art Code approved dealer and a Supply Nation certified Indigenous owned business.

indigenous art code ethics supply nation business

More information about Mainie ethics is available at:

More information about Mainie artists is available at:





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