A Portrait of Diversity

Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 01:42 Written by Donna Karan Friday, 28 October 2011 11:42

Nomad asiangirl A Portrait of Diversity

Part 1

After a very long flight and some lingering jet-leg, I’m back in Australia with Russell James celebrating diversity, humanity and unity on so many levels. A $2.45 million arts and culture festival is taking place in conjunction with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, and I am here to celebrate Russell and the unveiling of his new exhibition, Nomad Two Worlds: A Portrait of Diversity.

It’s been a year since my last visit to Australia and I am flooded with memories and an overwhelming sense of dots connecting; coming back and seeing Russell’s family feels like a second home to me. It’s amazing to see dreams coming true – this journey I’ve been on with Russell began over two years ago, when together we launched Nomad Two Worlds. While the exhibition has grown, evolved and traveled it has remained a powerful celebration of native cultures in a modern context; it is a beautiful thing to bring it back to Australia.

At the unveiling of Russell’s show in Perth, I was honored when my friend Dr. Richard Walley introduced me. Richard is a Nyoongar man, one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performers, musicians and writers and he was the person who first took me on my aboriginal journey. It was the perfect introduction to the extraordinary body of work in Russell’s exhibition. From the moment I walked in I was captivated – the first thing I said was, “I want this in New York.” I was particularly struck by the stunning image of a Singaporean girl – she took my breath away.

In the coming days we have much more to celebrate. I am reconnecting with many of the friends I met on my first trip here, including Steve. I met Steve last year on my journey with Richard Walley and he instantly reminded me of my husband Stephan; his long gray hair and his courageous battle with cancer. I am still amazed that it was Steve who worked on my first fragrance with my husband Stephan so many years ago. Steve is opening a new fragrance store here in Australia and I can’t wait to celebrate with him – it will be a beautiful reunion.

My recent experiences have left me renewed in my commitment to the preservation of culture and the importance of connection. I look forward to sharing so much more with you about my time in Australia and I invite you to join me on my journey by catching up with me here.

This trip is reminding me how dreams come true in the Nomadic world.

Part 2

My adventures in the nomadic world continue to amaze and surprise me. In my last few days in Australia I have been able to relish culture and explore artistic expression — experiences that have added splashes of color to my travels; truly a vibrant portrait of diversity. I was even hoping to make it to Bali – one of my great loves – but time would not allow. Thankfully, Bali came to Perth so I was able to get a small taste of the country I love so much.

At the opening of Steve’s fragrance shop, Atlas Pearls, Steve and I were able to jump back into conversation as though time had not passed. We discussed pearls, his story, and my favorite place – Bali. I was honored and deeply moved when Steve presented me with a letter that touched on how we met, our history of collaboration, and our shared story.

One of the most exciting parts of my trip was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) State Reception – what a tremendous honor! It was thrilling to meet global leaders like the Queen of England and it was an amazing opportunity to learn from the wealth of wisdom offered during the reception.

A happy surprise was attending, “The End of Polio Concert,” an amazing evening that took place in the midst of the largest gathering of Commonwealth leaders ever.  The purpose of the concert was to bring polio eradication back into the international spotlight and to bring a global community together to end to the debilitating disease. John Legend’s performance was brilliant and I was so impressed by Hugh Evens, an Australian humanitarian and internationally renowned development advocate. Hugh is the CEO of the Global Poverty Project and, in addition to fighting extreme poverty, he spearheaded, “The End of Polio Project.”  I was so inspired by his passion, commitment and tenacious spirit.

While my trip to Australia has captured my love for adventurous travel, cultural expeditions and friendly reunions I was most excited to continue my nomadic journey with Russell. Since the moment Russell and I met it, we have been like two partners in crime. We are two nomadic souls, trying to find calm in the midst of today’s chaotic world. I truly believe in the powerful effect of like-minds coming together, and I am endlessly grateful for Russell James, my nomadic kindred spirit.


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Experiencing Past, Present & Future in Berlin

Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 01:47 Written by Donna Karan Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:02

top collage Experiencing Past, Present & Future in BerlinBerlin, Day 1:

After we had safely arrived in Germany (after a rather dramatic flight in a lightening storm), we immediately went to check on the set up for the Nomad Two World exhibition at a gorgeous landmarked building in Berlin called Alte Munze. Once there, we were greeted by Ute Hartien and Benjamin Jäger, both Members of the Executive Board of Camera Work AG. It was an amazing experience to see the depth of work that had been done for the Nomad Two World Haiti Project. I loved seeing the new pieces, and especially loved seeing the pieces with Hugh Jackman.

Once we had ensured that preparation for the exhibition was well underway, we had some time to enjoy Berlin. It brought back so many memories for me of experiences early in my career; it was my past, present and future coming together all at once.

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Travel, Culture & Creativity: a Whirlwind Day in Haiti

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 05:46 Written by Donna Karan Tuesday, 30 August 2011 11:59

Haiti Collage Travel, Culture & Creativity: a Whirlwind Day in Haiti

The past few days have been another whirlwind of travel, culture, and creativity. I traveled to Haiti to pick up all of the last-minute artisan products that we needed for the Nomad Two Worlds exhibition in Berlin.

Once in Haiti, the day started where it all began: with Joey Adler and Richard Coles. It was so great to see the industrial revolution that they are helping to ignite with the LEED certified factory that they’re building, a place and a space for the artisan culture of Haiti to thrive and flourish.

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