Designing Country: Culture, Connection and Community – 60 000 years in the making.
Two days of sharing concepts and innovations in Indigenous design theory and practice with a range of guest speakers providing catalysts for conversation and yarn-ups showcasing the approaches and techniques of some of Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, designers, architects, engineers, urban planners and place makers whose work brings traditional cultural practices and perspectives into contemporary contexts.
During the sessions artisans will share their knowledge and perspectives, providing a window to new ways of thinking about how we can engage with, sustain and re-position skills and ways-of-doing that have been in development for over 60 000 years.
Registration includes morning and afternoon tea. Lunch not provided.
To access the ATSI Community subsidised registration code call MAAS Head of Indigenous Engagement & Strategy on 02 9217 0184 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
|Saturday 10 March|
|10.00am||SESSION 1: HONOURING COUNTRY||Fiona Foley|
|12.00pm||SESSION 2: VIRTUAL COUNTRY||Liam Ridgeway and Aroha Groves|
|2.30pm||SESSION 3: DESIGNING WITH COUNTRY||Michael Hromek and Linda Kennedy|
|4.00pm||Afternoon Tea & Networking|
|Sunday 11 March|
|10.00am||SESSION 4: WEAVING UP COUNTRY||Nicole Monks and Emily McDaniel|
|12.00pm||SESSION 5: URBAN COUNTRY||Jason Wing and Kent Morris|
|2.30pm||SESSION 6: PLENARY AND NETWORKING|
Fiona Foley is a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative. Foley exhibits regularly in Australia and internationally. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane in 2017 and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne in 2012.
In 2017 Foley completed her PhD with Griffith University. The thesis topic examined Queensland’s legislation, The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1897. During 2017 Foley was appointed Adjunct Professor to Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University.
In 2014 she was the recipient of an Australia Council Visual Arts Award. She is a regular keynote speaker at conferences and symposia all over the world. Most recently she convened Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University (2014) at the University of Queensland, where she was an Adjunct Professor.
Future Black design studio was established in 2017 by Linda Kennedy, a Yuin woman from the South Coast of NSW. With a foundation on Linda’s manifesto titled Future Black – Decolonising Design in Australia’s Built Environment (2014), her work advocates for and practices an overall shift in design process, design thinking and design practice to place value on Black ways of knowing and doing as an integral priority whereby Country and community come first in all projects of design within the built environment.
Michael Hromek has a range of specialisations in the broad area of design, theory and architecture. These include the nature of design and its role towards society, and the relationships between theory and practice in planning, society and the city.
Michael is currently doing a PhD at the University of Technology Sydney and teaches in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture covering architectural design and history and theory subjects. His thesis focuses on the idea the urban indigenous community in Redfern and questions, what are the values that constitute this community? How do they differ from what might be considered ‘traditional’ indigenous values? How have they been altered by inner city processes? How might the proposed future development of The Block contain these values?
Descended from the Budawang tribe of the Yuin nation, his other research interests surround the idea of contemporary indigenous identity and how it might be formalised through built forms.
Jason is a Sydney-based artist who strongly identifies with his Chinese and Aboriginal heritage. Wing began as a street artist and has since expanded his practice to incorporate photomedia, installation and painting. Influenced by his bi-cultural upbringing, Wing explores the ongoing challenges that impact his wider community.
Calling into question our understanding of history and of our current socio-political reality, Wing repurposes everyday objects and imagery, creating works that are both visually confronting and deceptively simple. Wing holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Graphic Design, Sydney Graphics College. He has exhibited nationally and internationally.
A Barkindji man based in Melbourne, Kent Morris graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts and is an alumnus of the National Gallery of Australia’s Wesfarmers Indigenous Leadership Program. Kent is an artist, curator and CEO of The Torch, an NPO that provides art, cultural and arts vocational support to Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders in Victoria through its Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program.
Central themes in his work are the connections between contemporary Indigenous experience and contemporary cultural practices, and their continuation and evolution.
Kent’s photography concentrates on reconstructing the shapes and structures of the built environment to reflect the rhythms, form and geometric designs of the first people of Australia. Each final image is constructed from a single photograph taken while walking on Country. The content is populated by native birds…..…”Wherever I go, I walk a lot. I look and listen, and learn from our native birds; I learn their rhythms and habits. I awake to, and follow their songs and conversations and respect their stories and importance. They form an intrinsic part of Indigenous cultural knowledge and spirituality, and despite colonisation, their stories, songs and our connection to them, continue.”
In his series Unvanished (2017), Kent reminds people that there is a continuum of culture that does not stop when the land changes. It is present and ongoing, and through his view we are privileged to see the world through Barkindji eyes. The geometric markers of identity from south-eastern Australia form a hypnotic movement in the mirrored photographs of his works. These designs refer to our customary practices and are a clear statement of Sovereign presence.
Grace Lillian Lee
Grace Lillian Lee is a multicultural Australian artist known for drawing inspiration from her indigenous heritage. Through collaborations with Australian indigenous communities and their art centers she has created a platform for cultural expression and celebration by way of fashion performances. These are instrumental in engaging young people from remote communities and providing an opportunity for them to represent and be proud of their culture and country through fashion and performance.
Working with these members of community inspired Grace to further her work by travelling to indigenous communities to encourage creative expression and mentor young people as well as collaborate with artists and art centers. Her aim is to guide members towards developing their art into textiles and adornment in a contemporary way while orchestrating the sharing of artistic culture between generations. This is instrumental in the preservation and celebrations of traditional techniques and creatives.
Among these communities is Mornington Island. As a result of an ongoing collaboration with Grace, the art center has been able to start a small fashion business titled MiArt Designs, known for its hand-painted one of a kind bags.
Nicole Monks is a trans-disciplinary artist of Yamatji Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage. Living and practicing in Redfern, Monks is informed by her cross-cultural identity and her work takes its focus from storytelling, as a way to connect the past with the present and future. Her designs take a conceptual approach, often embedded with narratives, and aim to promote cross-cultural understanding and communication.
A designer by trade, Monks crosses artforms to work with furniture and objects, textiles, video, installation and performance. Across these varied forms of contemporary art and design, her work reflects Aboriginal philosophies of sustainability, innovation and collaboration. With adeptness and sensitivity, Monk’s practice weaves together Aboriginal history and philosophy with contemporary Western thought and resonates with a wide Australian audience.
In addition to her solo practice, Monks is also well known for her success as a collaborative artist and as founder of blackandwhite creative.
In 2016, Monks won the Marika Memorial 3D Art Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in Darwin, Northern Territory, and is the recipient of the 2016 Arts NSW Design Mentorship Program. She is currently on the Design Advisory Panel for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and has been Committee Member and President on the Art Gallery of New South Wales’, Young Members Committee.
Emily McDaniel is an independent curator, writer and educator from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri nation in central New South Wales. In January 2018, she launched the world premiere of Four Thousand Fish, a site-specific, large-scale art project for Sydney Festival. In 2017 she joined Australia’s team for the Venice Biennale as Aboriginal Emerging Curator. Her recent exhibitions include Walan Yinaagirbang | Strong Women at Firstdraft Gallery, Dhuwi at Australian Design Centre and Wala-gaay for Artlands 2016. In 2015 she curated the first public art commission for Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct, the project was the result of a collaboration between artists Esme Timbery and Jonathan Jones. She continues to engage with the site by curating and producing temporary and permanent public art projects that activate the site and acknowledge it’s rich Indigenous history. Formerly, she was the Assistant Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Aboriginal Emerging Curator for the 18th Biennale of Sydney. Emily has also held numerous public programs and education positions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art and Object Gallery, with particular emphasis on access and Indigenous programs. She currently works Coordinator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learning Programs, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Liam is a descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of the North Coast of NSW, the Wakka Wakka people of Southern QLD, and grew up on Sydney’s Eora Country.
From 2007 to 2012 he worked in business to business Sales and Marketing at Microsoft and Trend Micro. At Microsoft he won the Circle of Excellence award for being in the top 10% Microsoft performers worldwide.
Since 2012 he has been working in the IT start-up based business scene working on web and mobile technology platforms and digital technology. In 2014, he co-founded Ngakkan Nyaagu (NGNY), Indigenous owned digital agency. In the same year Liam created an Indigenous Robotics Workshop at Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX – NCIE) for primary school kids to engage them further into STEM learning. In 2016 he co-founded Indigitek, an Indigenous STEM Community that brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the STEM industry into a collaborative environment to share their stories, journeys, successes and challenges. Liam is also a Director at Worthwhile Ventures, a not for profit venture capital that supports Aboriginal businesses in Sydney with business coaching and loan opportunities.
Liam has a passion to increase Indigenous participation in the global digital economy and support the growth of a collaborative and sustainable Indigenous IT community that can provide greater positive impact for the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Aroha Groves is an installation artist who has worked in a number of mediums, including ceramics, found objects, natural materials and digital. Her most recent works include Guliman (Gamilaraay language for ‘coolaman’ – cultural objects traditionally used for carrying children and gathered food), oversized hand built and painted guliman symbolising nurture, the need for a good place to sleep, under umbrellas symbolising shelter. This work was a commentary on the closure of 150 communities in WA & SA, as well as referencing cultural parenting, shown as part of the public art festival ‘Micro Galleries’ in Nowra, May 2015. Other recent works include Right Between the Eyes, an installation work made of hook & loop (‘velcro’) on boards which was a commentary on the $534M slashed from Aboriginal services in the Abbott government’s first budget in 2014, shown in a solo show at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in August/September 2014. Parad-Ice was a projection work on printed glass which commented on the prevalence of the drug ice on the south coast of NSW, shown also in her solo show at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in August/September 2014.
Highlights of Aroha’s career include receiving a Highly Commended for her digital installation work Connections2 at the 2010 Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award at the Museum and Gallery of NT; being invited to show her virtual artwork Meandering with the Australian Centre of Virtual Art at the International Symposium of Electronic Art in Istanbul, Turkey in 2011; and her first solo show Seed in 2005 at the Liverpool Regional Museum, an installation of ceramics, leaf, sand and ochre.
Aroha has also worked extensively in art facilitation and project design utilising community cultural development (CCD) principles. Projects include initiating and securing very substantial funding for the Made on the Kitchen Table project for Aboriginal women in south western Sydney with Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The Oolong House Art Project, culminated in simple projected animations on sculptural objects in a pop-up setting in the Nowra CBD, all created by men in recovery at the Oolong House Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre, Nowra in 2012.
She also builds websites, including her own and more recently for NSW’s only Aboriginal theatre company, Moogahlin Performing Arts, based at Carriageworks in Redfern. She has also been on the Moogahlin Performing Arts Board since March 2014, advising on digital strategies. Aroha has also had writings published including for Arts Monthly magazine.
Aroha is also known for her graphic work, including the design of Gadigal Radio’s Yabun Festival 2014 posters; conceptualising and designing the brief for SONA Superstudio, an annual national architectural student competition as part of the first Aboriginal creative directing team with Aboriginal architects Jefa Greenaway, Dillon Kombumerri & Rueben Berg in 2013.
Symposium Host – Tina Baum
Tina Baum is from the Larrakia/Wardaman/Karajarri peoples of the Northern Territory and Western Australia and originally from Darwin, Northern Territory. She has over 29 years’ experience in Museums and Art Gallery’s throughout Australia and has worked at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane; the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; and the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. She has been the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra since 2005.
Tina curated the Emerging Elders exhibition in 2009 and worked on both National Indigenous Art Triennials at the National Gallery of Australia, Culture Warriors in 2007 and unDisclosed in 2012 and curated the Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial in 2017. She has published in numerous magazines and publications including exhibition catalogues and journals.
Tina was a recipient of the British Council inaugural Accelerate: Indigenous Australian Creative Leadership Programme to the United Kingdom in 2009 and was a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, Emerging Curators Professional Development Program to the 52nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy in 2007.
All program details correct at time of release. MAAS reserves the right to alter program without notification.
(Image courtesy of the artist – Kent Morris)