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National Museum of Australia

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4

Latvian red ankle length costume skirt with embroidery

1990.0047.0005

Latvian red ankle length costume skirt with embroidery

Object information

Physical description

Red ankle length costume skirt decorated with fine vertical lines of coloured embroidery in green, yellow, purple and blue. The skirt comprises a rectangular fabric length with one seam and a drawstring waist.

Statement of significance

The Guna Kinne Collection no 1 comprises objects which make up a Latvian woman's national costume including blouse, waistcoat, skirt, headdress, bonnet and brooches. Guna Kinne made the outfit over a period of 30 years, starting work on it as a sewing project while a schoolgirl in Riga in 1942, completing the jacket as she fled Latvia at the end of the Second World War, final touches were made to the costume after she migrated to Australia. As she fled her homeland, she took the unfinished costume with her, together with some clothes and photographs. She later wore the costume at a dance in a displaced persons camp in Germany, the day she met her future husband.

Mrs Kinne's experiences are representative of post-war Latvian migration to Australia. After World War Two, the Australian Government adopted a new immigration policy which encouraged European emigration to Australia to boost a low population. By 1952 almost 20,000 Latvians had come to Australia as part of the program. Many, including Mrs Kinne, participated in Latvian community organisations formed to help maintain cultural activities and provide mutual social support as emigrants adapted to life in their new country. Mrs Kinne and her husband Arturs arrived in 1948 and settled in Maffra, Wangaratta and then Melbourne in Victoria. Mr Kinne attempted to make a living through his wood carving and used his skills in dairy production while Mrs Kinne continued her artistic skills through colouring photos as paid employment and painting as a hobby.

Object information

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