One of Australia’s leading furniture, design and lifestyle brands, Koskela, will celebrate 10 years of social impact projects working with Australia’s First Nation Peoples.

Koskela will present Ngalya, a new collection of lighting designs made in partnership with six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres from across the country.

The Ngalya Collection will be exhibited at Koskela starting late August and will then travel to the South Australian School of Art Gallery in Adelaide for the TARNANTHI Indigenous contemporary arts festival in October.

Koskela co-founder Sasha Titchkosky said the company believes great design can be used to effect social change and that Australia’s unique Indigenous culture should be celebrated and acknowledged.

“We are proud of the many collaborations we have worked on in the past 10 years and are excited to present our anniversary collection – Ngalya – highlighting the incredible innovation and contemporary transformations taking place in Indigenous fibre arts and cultures across Australia,” Ms Titchkosky said.

The Ngalya Collection was named after the Dharug word meaning ‘both,’ and Koskela collaborated with many art centres for the collection including:

  • Moa Arts
  • Tjanpi Desert Weavers
  • Bula’Bula Arts
  • Milingimbi Art and Culture
  • Durrmu Arts
  • Ngarrindjeri Weavers.

To develop new exquisite installations and lighting products, each centre has drawn on culturally significant objects and design features.

The artists of Moa Arts were influenced by maalu (the sea that belongs to the land) and its creatures. The Moa artists and Koskela designers created two forms inspired by the majestic Eagle Ray, and the smaller blue spotted stingray for Ngalya.

Moa Arts artist Paula Savage said it was the colours of the stingrays on her ancestral land of Mua Island in the Torres Strait that praised her mind.

Artists of Moa Arts and Koskela designers came up with two forms inspired by the majestic Eagle Ray, and smaller blue spotted stingray. Photo supplied by Koskela.

“We have a lot of stingrays; it was based on the sea and for me the nearest thing I could look at before going in a dingy was a stingray,” Ms Savage said.

Ms Savage said she enjoyed the labour-intensive processes of harvesting the plants, digging up and peeling the roots for dye, stripping the leaves then soaking them and dyeing the fibres.

“I work with four other ladies, [the project] has brought us together. Once we do come together, we small talk about it and I ask them if they need help then I just help the other ladies besides doing mine,” Ms Savage said.

The projects are an alternative income source for the artists that allows them to continue and maintain their traditional practices.

Koskela’s clients include National Australia Bank, Westpac and the Qantas headquarters in Sydney.

When asked how she felt about her artwork being purchased by these well-known companies, Ms Savage said she was amazed by it.

“I’m blown away, I didn’t realise that other people would like it. It’s just that I wouldn’t have thought it would be this big,” Ms Savage said.

Ngalya is on display at Koskela in Rosebery, NSW August 28 to September 18 and will be in Adelaide for TARNANTHI in October.

By Jade Bradford