This one has been a long time coming. Due to the fact that I don’t really post the personal on t&t, eek. But I decided to get over it, because this project, one that I was lucky enough to help out with, is truly special. Part of my day job over the last five years has been to work as an art coordinator with an Indigenous-owned community art centre, Durrmu Arts, and its artists. The centre is 300km south west of Darwin, so pretty remote. In 2010 the lovely Sasha from Koskela approached us, to enquire whether the artists might be interested in taking part in a textile project. We already knew about their incredible Yuta Badalaya light project with Elcho Island Arts, so it wasn’t a difficult decision! That initiated a year long process of design and production collaboration with weaver, painter and printmaker Regina Pilawuk Wilson, who ended up producing three original designs for the project, based on a dilly bag loop, fish-net and message sticks. Koskela took on the really hard part of figuring out how to reproduce the delicacy and layers of her designs, eventually choosing a laborious digital printing technique (that, despite assumptions, is actually far more involved than screenprint!) The designs have been printed on linens and silks, in the form of cushions, bed spreads, and more to come… There has been such a great response to the project, titled Durrmu (which translates as ‘design’ in Ngan’gikurunggurr language), some of which can be seen above. This project, to me, sets an important standard for Indigenous and non-Indigenous design collaborations, executed with great sensitivity, respect and ethical practices.
If you get a chance, immerse yourself in the range at Koskela in Rosebery, and have a delicious lunch at Kitchen by Mike afterward. I can guarantee both will nourish you. HF.
Images, from top: Durrmu silk cushions (photograph by Andrew Cowen), Syaw (fish-net) silk (photograph by Andrew Cowen), Dilly Bag bedspread at Koskela, a feature on Koskela in Monocle Magazine (amazing, right?!), the Durrmu range (photograph by Andrew Cowen), a Dilly Bag painting by Regina Pilawuk Wilson, the Durrmu range, mention in Inside Out magazine.