Koskela brings Ngalya collection to UniSA for Tarnanthi

Image: Koskela

The SASA Gallery at UniSA’s School of Art, Architecture and Design will play host to a new collection of lighting designs made in collaboration with six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres from across Australia.

Ngalya / Together is an exploratory exhibition, a celebration of Koskela’s 10 years of positive social impact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists through the development of lighting products and installations. The extraordinary collection is a result of partnerships with artists from Bula’Bula Arts, Durrmu Arts, Milingimbi Arts and Culture, Moa Arts, Ngarrindjeri Cultural Weavers and Tjanpi Desert Weavers, and highlights the value of traditional and contemporary fibre arts skills in both cultural and commercial settings.

First presented at Koskela’s gallery space in Roseberry, NSW, the exhibition will travel to Adelaide as part of Aboriginal contemporary art festival Tarnanthi – the Art Gallery of South Australia’s flagship program that provides a unique platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to create and show new work and stories.

The Tarnanthi Festival has grown monumentally since its inception in 2015, with the presentation of a city-wide arts festival every second year empowering local and regional gallery spaces to engage with, commission and present Aboriginal artworks.

For Sasha Titchkosky, co-founder and director of Koskela, Ngalya is the culmination of a decade of commitment to the facilitation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. As a registered member of the Indigenous Art Code, Koskela’s track record with and approach to ethical trade in Aboriginal art is a benchmark for other coorporations.

“We are thrilled to see Ngalya/Together exhibited as part of Tarnanthi this year,” said Titchkosky. “It is a real honour for this body of work to be included in the official program and we are looking forward to showcasing the talent of the six participating art centres.”

The exhibition celebrates a decade since Koskela’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island collaboration, with Elcho Island Arts, and looks to build on this foundation of knowledge exchange through further exploration of woven forms. Ngalya “seeks to physically and conceptually illuminate these profound objects, allowing them to be seen anew.”

Featuring hand-woven products and art objects, Ngalya puts care for land at the forefront, shining a light on the labour-intensive preparation processes that result in delicate, naturally dyed and locally harvested plant fibres. Designs draw inspiration from traditional forms and weaving practices, melding the old and the new to reinterpret their significance.

Yutu Dugitj (To grow together) explores intergenerational learning in an embodiment of cultural knowledge exchange. Translating both as ‘a seed growing’ and ‘a grey hair sprouting,’ Yutu Dugitj forms a metaphor for the collaboration of senior and younger women at the Milingimbi Art and Culture centre. The form of the installation is based on the ragudha (mud mussel) – found at the base of the mangrove plants near Yurrwi.

Yutu Dugitj (To grow together), Milingimbi Art and Culture, Yurrwi. Image: Koskela

 Another product, Wirra Walukumuni, reimagines wirra and piti – carved wooden carrying vessels – as illuminated art objects. The traditional vessels, utilised daily by women throughout the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, and Yankunytjatjara lands, are interpreted here through the woven form and the Tjanpi artists’ new and innovative approach to contemporary fibre art.

Wirra Walykumunu (Beautiful Bowl), Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY/APY Lands. Image: Koskela

This iteration of Ngalya / Together will officially launch on Tarnanthi’s opening weekend with an afternoon of appreciation and collaborative knowledge-exchange from 2PM – 4PM on Saturday October 19. Join us in the SASA Gallery to hear from some of the artists and curators involved in Ngalya and gain an insight into how the exhibition came together. The event will be officially opened by UniSA’s Pro Vice Chancellor: Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, Professor Irene Watson.


Ngalya / Together is open from 9-27 October daily, 11AM – 5PM in the SASA Gallery at UniSA.


Saturday October 19, 2PM – 4PM

Artist talks 3PM