Selling Yarns 2

Innovation for sustainability



Art beyond the canvas - storytelling and design

Keynote address

Alison Page

Designer and artist,


Indigenous Australians have a proud tradition of design and innovation. The boomerang, gunya's, woomera's and fish traps are all examples of objects that are functional, sustainable and beautiful, but also contain an extra dimension, story. Indigenous Australian's have always embellished objects with stories about the land, family, communities and Ancestors.

Contemporary Aboriginal design builds on that tradition, with Indigenous people expressing cultural identity with architecture, fashion, interiors, landscape design, public art and jewellery. Still in its infancy, the 'potential' of Aboriginal design is largely untapped and there is an opportunity for a national strategy to progress this further.

This paper focuses on contemporary Aboriginal Design as a new medium for the cultural expression of Indigenous Australians. By looking at the work of Merrima Design as well as her own practice, Alison Page will propose a way in which design can lead to the long term social, environmental and economic development of Aboriginal communities.

See also: Alison Page's biography