Blak Design Matters

Blak Design Matters is the first national survey of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design.

Curated by architect Jefa Greenaway, it will showcase leading Indigenous designers from across Australia, exploring what is Indigenous design and why it matters.

Blak Design Matters will open at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Federation Square on Friday 20 July until Sunday 30 September 2018. 

Charting new territories, Blak Design Matters will challenge preconceptions of Indigenous design and showcase the depth of design talent.  From interior and product design; to landscape, architecture and town planning; the exhibition will interrogate how Indigenous design is defined, received and made visible in Australia’s contemporary design landscape.

There is a long and proud tradition of design within Aboriginal Australia, however it has been narrowly viewed with the perception that Indigenous design is ultimately from a tradition long past. However, this exhibition demonstrates that like all good design, Aboriginal-led design continues to respond to contemporary issues and traverses the design spectrum with innovation and creativity, while paying homage to its history.

Fostering Indigenous architecture and design through projects like this strengthens contemporary representations of Australia’s culture and history, and facilitates new expressions of identity and connectedness to culture through design.

Featured designers: 

Graphic Design – Marcus Lee Designs, Vic; Balarinji Designs, NSW; Galimbaa Designs, QLD; Fashion – Lyn-Al Young Vic; Arki The Label (Arki Barton); AARLI (Teagan Cowlishaw); Interiors / Furniture Design – Nicole Monks NSW; Francoise Lane QLD; Architecture – Carroll Go-Sam (QLD); Dillon Kombumerri, NSW; Jefa Greenaway, Vic; Landscape – Paul Herzich, SA; Jewellery –  Grace Lillian Lee, QLD; Haus of Dizzy, Vic; Maree Clarke, Vic. Textiles – MI Art, QLD; Injalak Arts, NT; Babbarra Design, NT.

The exhibition will be designed by Jefa Greenaway in collaboration with Sibling Architecture and the Koorie Heritage Trust.

‘Think of the potential to appropriately and sensitively reference the depth of history that this country too often conceals.  Indigenous-led design and designers have the tools to give voice to many compelling narratives that our rich culture holds,” says curator Jefa Greenaway. 

Jefa Greenaway is an award-winning architect, interior designer and lecturer/knowledge broker, focusing on Indigenous curriculum development at the University of Melbourne. Jefa is a director of Greenaway Architects, chair of Indigenous Architecture + Design Victoria (IADV) and is one of a handful registered Indigenous architects in Australia. He seeks to embed cultural connectedness within the built environment. 

Established in 1985, the Koorie Heritage Trust is a bold and innovative not-for-profit arts and cultural organisation.  “Aboriginal owned and managed, the Koorie Heritage Trust provides opportunities for all people to learn, connect and reconnect with the rich living cultural heritage of Aboriginal Victoria originating from a 60 000-year-old history”, says Koorie Heritage Trust CEO Tom Mosby.

Blak Design Matters, Friday 20 July until Sunday 30 September 2018 at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Federation Square.

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