Caroline and Waangenga Blanco are visionaries.
Caroline nurtures humans to live with deeper connection, purpose and freedom. After a 15-year career in the fashion and music industry, it was Vedic meditation that deeply humbled her to the fragility of the human experience. She meets us at a place of inner quiet-beyond our thoughts, emotions, judgements and intellect, guiding us towards clarity, emotional maturity and heightened creativity.
Her husband Waangenga is a creative visionary dancing across multiple shapes of expression.
A descendant of the Mer Island people, and of the Pajinka Wik people, Cape York, he is an award-winning, globally touring performing artist, specialising in contemporary dance, choreography and acting. After studying at NAISDA Dance College, he joined Bangarra in 2005 and became a seminal influencer to anew generation of traditionally informed dance.
“Still Life” as a concept for this collection is about reaching a place of inner quiet to nurture our ritualistic practice of art in its many forms. How do you interpret this idea in your daily life?
W: I find stillness in my daily practice of Vedic meditation allowing stress to be released from my nervous system and from this stillness I am able to birth each day with movement to dance with life.
C: As a Vedic Meditation initiator and twice daily practitioner embodying stillness is my daily direct experience. I’ve been committed to this practice for nearly a decade. Slowing down and being in stillness is foundational to my lifestyle.
What music do you listen to when you are deep in your work?
W: My work encompasses all spectrums and currents of the human condition, so my musical taste is broad and alive to what is stirring in me... preferably music without lyrics. Ryuichi Sakamoto has beenhelping me dive deep in moments of improvisation lately. ‘And still they move’-Colin Stetson and SarahNeufeld.
C: Alice Coltrane has really been hitting the spot lately
Where do you feel most at home?
W: Home is in the ocean; home is nestled in a cave in the embrace of my children and wife. Home is my body in my heart. Home is safe.
C: Whenever myself, Waangenga and our two children are snuggled warm in bed, doesn’t matter where. They are my home.
In the preservation of cultural identity, how important is it to have First Nations people represented in campaigns like Still Life? How can we as an industry continue to learn and be better?
W: To have First Nations representation in campaigns for fashion is empowering for all people of colour, the only way any one of us are going to learn and do better is by having the right relationship with our country.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution so really to do better we have to look at our footprint and see if how we relate to Mother Earth is reciprocal or simply taking for capital gain.
C: Human consciousness is rapidly expanding beyond the whitewashed unrealistic version of beauty. Humans desire connection, more diverse representation will contribute to a more unified humanity. But at what cost? We really should be addressing the industries effect on the environment. Rather than how we can we connect to more consumers. Right!? Listening to First Nations voices and learning how to care for country is a good place to start
How have you shaped each other?
W: As lovers and parents we are constantly sculpting ourselves to be the best version of ourselves so that we can best show up for each other, our community and children, we are simply mirrors of each other so the work always begins by tending to our own gardens; and when we water our own garden, we will see the ripened fruits reflected.
C: We’ve just reached our 8 year anniversary! When you find your mirror you have two choices, run or lean in and look at every little shadow to illuminate it... I’m externally grateful we continue to choose to lean in. We found unconditional love.
Who or what are the biggest influences in your lives?
W: My immediate community-Caroline Blanco, my children Opus and Minna, my sisters Ella Bancroft, Kirilly Dawn and Anna Snowsill. All these people inspire me to live in my truth and encourage my higherself to shine ✨
C: Devotion of my loved ones is all consuming. We have a two and a five-year-old, so the season of life I’m in right now is a dance of deep surrender, acceptance and being. Cherishing each moment with as much presence and loving awareness as possible. There is an emerging from this bubble currently taking place though. I’m continuously inspired by and influenced by the powerful women in my life, those creating epic art and change, challenging the status quo, and living from the heart... their radiance, generosity and success lights me up.
What inspires you or drives your creativity?
W: The unknown inspires my creativity.
The ritual that brings you the most joy...
W: Vedic Meditation when I begin my day and somewhere towards the end of a day. Indisputable!
C: My twice daily meditation practice. Literally it enhances bliss, joy and happiness chemicals in the mind and body. Also making fire whether it’s in the garden, beach or for fire ceremony... fire is an anchor I cherish.
How has your style transformed over time? Has your environment and surroundings played a role in this?
W: My style of life is much more attuned to the rhythm of nature and the land where we reside (compared to our life in the city). The joy of knowing the tide times for optimum swimming conditions and the best places to visit according to the wind direction make for a life which is simply beautiful and aligned with the seasons. Which trees are fruiting where will we go to collect these fruits.
C: There was a solid decade there of only wearing black, these days I’m softer in my being and this carries into my external expression. I’m definitely more colourful now! Mixing designer pieces, with vintage or activewear with a hand dyed cloak is my look today haha comfort above anything!
Item in your wardrobe you’ll never part ways with?
W: My red beanie that once belonged to my Poppy
C: I will never part with a long black pure silk slip
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