Performance costume, ' Donkey Boy', fabric/fibreglass/leather, designed by Lisa Ho, used in Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000
The 'Donkey Boy' costume features a donkey headdress sculpted from foam and fibreglass, a pair of stretch velvet pants and fake fur and leather collar and cuffs.
The costume featured on the Asia float in the Arrivals segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. It was designed by Australian fashion designer Lisa Ho and manufactured in the Ceremonies Costume Workshop. The costume was worn by Charles Smouha.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games was comprised of three major sections: the mandatory formalities and protocol sections, the cultural display and the entrance of the athletes. Within the cultural display, there were eight segments titled: Welcome, Deep Sea Dreaming, Awakening, Fire, Nature, Tin Symphony, Arrivals and Eternity.
This costume was used in the Arrivals segment of the Opening Ceremony. This segment aimed to produce a theatrical representation of Australia's multiculturalism. The programme for the Olympic Opening Ceremony states: The history of Australia is the history of migration. We have come from all corners of the planet to form a vibrant, culturally rich and constantly evolving society. In this segment, a new group of arrivals form the Olympic symbol that unites the five continents of the world. They disperse, leaving behind their children - our hope for the future. More children appear until two thousand gather to form the pattern of the night sky, containing the distinctive Southern Cross constellation.
The Arrivals segment saw five floats each representing a continent enter the arena. Each float carried performers in costumes inspired by the continent. The colours of the Olympic rings set the costume colours; black for the African nations, yellow for the Asian nations, red for the Americas, green for Europe and blue for Oceania, which includes Australia.
The costumes for each float were designed by prominent Australian fashion and film designers rather than theatrical designers to provide a contemporary, cutting edge, high fashion look to the costumes. The designers were Jenny Kee - Africa and Americas, Lisa Ho - Asia, Norma Moriceau - Europe and Peter Morrissey - Oceania.
Performers were selected from schools, community groups and from cultural and ethnic support groups. Approximately 500 performers danced around and on each of the five floats in the costumes created by the designers.
Lisa Ho graduated from East Sydney Technical College in Dress Design. She initially sold her garments at Paddington Markets in Sydney. Subsequently she launched a signature label LISA HO and has opened five signature boutiques in Australia. The label is stocked by major department stores and boutiques throughout Australia, America, England and Asia.
In developing the designs for the Asian section Ho looked to the rich diversity of clothing forms and the many visual and cultural icons from the countries that make up Asia. These included: the Goddess Shiva, traditional Chinese Dynastic court dress, Asiatic flowers, Thai temple architecture, Japanese tattooing, Arabic coin jewellery, 19th century Palestinian headdresses and Indian tapestry.
More contemporary inspiration was found in the work of Canada's Cirque Du Soleil and current fashion trends such as '70's glamour'. The costumes were also infused with Ho's own decorative and eclectic style, which typically incorporates intricate evening details into daywear. "Demystifying precious things to make them there to enjoy for anyone anytime. To have fun with them" Ho 2001
Ho chose to incorporate four 'beast' costumes onto the Asia float: a bull, a donkey, and elephant and a dragon. Each beast was chosen for its significance in relation to the culture, lifestyle and/or religion of a particular region of Asia. The large fibreglass heads were teamed with a bare chest and tight stretch velvet pants based on a dance-pant shape.
Maker name Ceremonies Costume Department. In particular: Jane Bennett - Collar and Gustavo Balboa - Head.
Worn by Charles Smouha. Difficulty was experienced by the Ceremonies Department in finding someone to wear the 'donkey' head as many of the performers saw it as an insult - particularly the Hindu groups. Charles is the son of Ho's partner Phillip Smouha of Smouha Fabrics.
Presented to the Powerhouse Museum by the Olympic Coordination Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government