Island business claims coveted prize
The SYB Dhapirrk Clothing Company has triumphed at this year’s Northern Territory Youth Business Awards.
The screen printing company, led by senior Shepherdson College students, uses stencils cut to reveal waŋarr (totems) or important aspects of Yolŋu culture.
Teacher Alex Payne said the Galiwinku-based venture was developed from a financial literacy grant.
“The students had to decide on a clothing company idea, conduct market research, create designs, and a business name and logo,” he said.
“They have learnt about many facets of running an industry, including branding, advertising, exploring market opportunities and financial planning.
“The eight artists have decorated bags and T-shirts with totemic images as diverse as a stingray (Maranydjalk) water lily (Wurrki) a green sea turtle (Miyapuna) knives (Yiki) and a frill-necked lizard (Mayawa).”
Entrepreneur Jethro Lacey said: “Waŋarr means the totem of a man or woman. The totem will protect us, and we protect the totem”.
Fellow artist Wuyatiwuy Aaron said: “My waŋarr is about the story of my ancestors, and where we come from.
“It tells me who I am, and it represents my clan groups.”
The students aim to make T-shirts reflecting the positions of staff, and members of the school band with an image of the instrument they play.
The school also runs an Op Shop.