Water lily laces designed by Lenore Dembski,
fabric by Leonie Gardner
and Torres Strait Islander designers are today expressing
their cultures in graphic design, jewellery, textiles and
fashion. Their work sheds new light on traditional themes
and motifs, revealing contrasts between the different regions
of Australia. The energy and imagination of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander design reveals a culture with a continuity
that remains through the fickle changes of fashion.
design techniques range from traditional fibre crafts to
screen-printing, batik and hand-painting. The techniques
reflect external influences such as training opportunities,
travel and market forces.
and Torres Strait Islander designers often reflect the Australian
landscape in their work. The symbols and motifs they use
vary from region to region and have great cultural significance.
This raises issues of ownership, copyright and licensing
is perhaps one of the most immediate ways that a person
can express how they feel about themselves and their culture,
their political views and aspirations. Community-based enterprises
have provided a network for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander designers whereby they can sell their designs and
work together to solve production and distribution problems.
Young workers can be employed in work schemes and many communities
find this has far-reaching effects upon their self-image
and financial status.
and Torres Strait Islander design is popular for its fresh
and dynamic graphic qualities, which contrast with mainstream
fashion. The influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
design on non-indigenous designers can be seen in the collections
of a number of contemporary designers. How the textile design
is acknowledged and how the designer is rewarded is of critical
studies developed by the Professional Support and
Curriculum Directorate and supported by the Multicultural
Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and
Training in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum