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makeda duong explores mental health, race and identity through textile art


A woolly jumper usually represents warmth and cosiness, but Adelaide artist Makeda Duong hand knits garms to make some viewers uncomfortable. In 2020, she created the 'Mixed-Race Sweater', a jumper emblazoned with othering questions about her Vietnamese-Australian background. The reaction to her work was split – people who weren't used to being asked about their race or ethnicity found it pretty jarring, while others were comforted by seeing their experience represented. 

For Makeda, making art is a way of processing difficult emotions and raising awareness to issues that go undiscussed. She's knitted ever since she was a young girl, but it was only after completing her Bachelor of Visual Arts that she began using craft and textiles as a vehicle for her personal stories (she reckons historically female crafts don't get enough credit in the art space, and we tend to agree). Her designs also cover themes of feminism and mental health, and are well worth a closer look if you feel so inclined. Head to Makeda's portfolio to see more.