Australian Design Centre plays a critical role in celebrating the work of Australian artists who embrace the highest degree of skill and who continually explore material, process and ideas to advance contemporary craft and design practice.

Object Space is our window gallery located at the Australian Design Centre HQ on William Street, Darlinghurst, on view 24 hours a day.

2 June - 5 July 2022

Indigenous Jewellery Project:
Highlights from Bulay(i) Project, Buku-Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala | Walgett Project, Dharriwaa Elders Group, Walgett | Bawrrunga Project, Bawrrungga Nyami Gawbarrigam, Bawrrungga

Founded in 2013, the Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP) is the first nation-wide Indigenous Australian contemporary jewellery project. IJP works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned art centres across Australia, running workshops on country with traditional Indigenous jewellers, founding curator Emily McCulloch Childs and leading contemporary jewellers. The pieces on display were created during workshops held between 2016 and 2021 in NSW and NT that were supported by Australian Design Centre.

The aim of the Indigenous Jewellery Project is to strengthen and continue existing traditions and facilitate artists to develop a career as exhibiting contemporary artist jewellers through upskilling, involving developing practice and the use of professional jewellery materials. It is focused on developing and maintaining Aboriginal jewellery and small object tradition and practice, reinforcing the connection to traditional lands and the natural world and developing a sophisticated contemporary art craft practice, in which works are created that both sit on the body and outside it.

Exhibiting artists
Marrnyula Mununggurr / Birrpunu Yunupiŋgu / Pamela Marrawayamala Yunupiŋu / MandyY. Wanambi / Dianne Kennedy / Donna Brown / Denise Buchanan

Select Indigenous Jewellery Projects:

Bawrrunga Project, 2021
Bawrrungga Nyami Gawbarrigam, Bawrrungga (Bowraville), NSW
Gumbaynggirr artists were invited to participate in a five-day contemporary jewellery making workshop. The professional workshop was attended by nine local artists who were introduced to jewellery making techniques including saw piercing, metal texturing, heat patination, cold-joining, making jewellery findings and air-dry clay beads, knotting and cordage, all with a focus on working with natural materials including locally collected native timber and shells. Outcomes included necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Read more.

Walgett Project, 2019
Dharriwaa Elders Group, Walgett, NSW
Walgett Wirringaa, Yinnar and Miyay local women and girls were invited to participate in four days of jewellery making and 21 people attended and worked with natural materials to learn techniques including; weaving and coiling, bush string making, air-dry clay bead making, working with ochre to paint clay, using seed or nut beads, beading with quandong, using casuarina or flowering gum to make earrings, necklaces and bracelets, working with emu feathers, wood, opal chips and scale. The group was intergenerational, including young women to elders with a group of local school children participating in a weaving and necklace making workshop. Read more.

Bulay(i) Project, 2016-17
Buku-Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala, NT
The Bulay(i) Project is the first jewellery-focused project held at Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka over the period of 2016 and early 2017 by the Indigenous Jewellery Project. Curator Emily McCulloch Childs and contemporary jeweller Melinda Young ran workshops with the aim to maintain, innovate and document traditional Yolŋu jewellery practice and expanding jewellers’ practice to include new techniques and materials, such as metals. Read more.

Works on display
(Back row left to right)
Marrnyula Mununggurr
Djapu Clan Girring'Girring, 2017
ochres on stringybark with silk
Bulay(i) Project

Birrpunu Yunupingu
Wayin (Bird) Girring'Girring (necklace), 2017
brass, silk
Bulay(i) Project

Pamela Marrawaymala Yunupiŋu
Gaḻigaḻi(') (Women's Boomerang) Girring'Girring, 2017
brass on silk
Bulay(i) Project

Mandy Y.Wanambi
Wayin (Bird) Girring'Girring, 2017
silver, silk
Bulay(i) Project

Dianne Kennedy Walfard
Necklace, 2019
Italian air dry clay, ochre, eucalyptus seed, string
Walgett Project

Annalisa Wilson
Necklace, 2021
brass, silky oak, silver, silk
Bawrrungga Project

Denise Buchanan
Brolga Necklace, 2021
brass, silk
Bawrrungga Project

(Front row left to right)
Marrnyula Mununggurr
Dhonyin (File Snake Rainbow Serpent Totem) Girring'Girring, 2017
oxidised silver, silk
Bulay(i) Project

Marrnyula Mununggurr
Native Fruit Girring'Girring, 2017
silver, silk
Bulay(i) Project (Yirrkala, NT)

Christine (Monica) Inglis
Earrings, 2021
silky oak, silver, copper
Bawrrungga Project

Jasmine Stadhams
Earrings, 2021
silver, copper, brass
Bawrrungga Project

Lavinna Inglis
Earrings, 2021
silver, copper, brass.
Bawrrungga Project

Donna Brown
Emu Necklace, 2022
copper, enamel, emu feathers, silk
Bawrrungga Project