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Deadly Threads | South Brisbane

12 May, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 15 August, 2021 @ 5:00 pm

Deadly Threads State Library

Deadly Threads: Where did you get that shirt? Nothing says statement more than an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander shirt worn with pride.

The State Library is a showcase examining Indigenous shirts – born from protests in the 1970s and evolving as permanent mainstays in wardrobes across Australia.  

In Deadly Threads, see over 190 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed singlets, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jerseys. 

From colourful sporting jerseys to protest and artists’ shirts, Deadly Threads looks at how the shirts have helped people freely express views, support community, show allegiances and champion causes.  

Explore the origins and significance of the shirts and how they have become important symbols of identity, celebration and unity. Also, learn more about the regional companies and artists that have emerged as part of the flourishing Indigenous shirt business. 

Highlights include: 

  • Rare shirts from the Mabo Family Collection that celebrate Mabo Day and the 1992 Mabo decision 
  • Queensland Rugby League legend Johnathan Thurston’s boots
  • Memorial shirts designed for tombstone openings in the Torres Strait 
  • T-shirts designed by artists Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, and Libby Harward 
  • Ten years of the Deadly Choices health check shirts by the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH)  

Throughout the showcase period join free talks, curator’s tours and workshops. Wear your favourite deadly shirt when you visit Deadly Threads. Tell your friends where you got that shirt on Instagram using #slqDeadlyThreads and tagging @StateLibraryQld


12 May, 2021 @ 10:00 am
15 August, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


State Library of Queensland
07 3842 9847


State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place
South Brisbane, Qld 4101 Australia
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