Indigenous textile artists collaborate on furniture design


Aboriginal textile artists take their places at the table

New exhibition at JamFactory Adelaide (until November 28, 2021) puts work of Aboriginal artists in conversation with contemporary Australian furniture design

Textile works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are enjoying a well-deserved moment in the Australian fashion industry, but this series of new pieces commissioned for the Tarnanthi Art Fair demonstrates that forays are also underway around the world. of the furniture.

For ‘Rekkan / Tamuwu / Nyinakat (sit / sit down)’, South Australian studio and gallery JamFactory teamed up three First Nations textile artists, working in art centers in the Northern Territory, with furniture designers based in Adelaide, in the land of Kaurna.

Collaborative furniture designs

‘Boulder’ Chair and Footstool by Caren Elliss and Keturah Nangala Zimran

The shapes are eclectic and the palette is bold, from the light touch of Ndjébbana-Kuninjku artist Raylene Bonson’s “Love Bench” collaboration with designer duo Daniel To and Emma Aiston – a touch elevated on camping furniture folding – to Caren Elliss and Luritja – Artist Pintupi Keturah Nangala Zimran’s “Boulder chair”, more ready for the living room.

For the “Love Bench”, To and Aiston (who run their own design studio, Daniel Emma, ​​in addition to being the creative directors of JamFactory) sought to create a “utilitarian object that could be easily transported”, while completing the story of an ancestral river crossing told through Bonson’s line drawing.

‘Inspired by and wanting to reflect life in and around Maningrida [Bonson’s home], we have designed two foldable and functional benches that celebrate the true nature of the Wubbunj (paper bark canoe) represented by Raylene’s screen-printed fabric, ”the two men explain of their pastel-colored steel frame. “We really liked the concept of the piece actually used, especially on Country as a useful everyday object. “

‘Pupuni Punarika (Good Water Lily)’ by Dean Toepfer and Roslyn Orsto

Zimran’s bright block colors and curvy shapes illustrate the rocks and dunes of his home in the central desert. Printed on linen and stretched over Australian Blackwood by Elliss, the plump armchair and ottoman set evokes the soft-hard duality of the landscape, while reflecting the geology of its upholstery.

Sandwiched between smooth Tasmanian oak panels by designer Dean Toepfer, Tiwi artist Roslyn Orsto’s Punarika (water lily) motif celebrates the waterways and life cycles of the Tiwi Islands, just north of the mainland.

By the way, the bright colors and shapes seen throughout the collection may seem to evoke the genre of Australiana Day-glo that non-native artists like Ken Done made famous in the 1980s. But these pieces tap into something more. deep – and continues to evolve.

“’Australian design’ is nothing without the contributions of First Nations people,” To and Aiston say of the exchange of knowledge and skills at the heart of the collection. “Without it, it just becomes a one-layered story.” §


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