The significance behind the artwork
The artwork depicts highly symbolic patterns and designs from the Jukurrpa, or The Dreaming. Aboriginal artwork of this kind can be seen as aerial maps of sacred Country. They can be viewed from any direction. Jukurrpa stories are owned. They are not like stories from non-Aboriginal culture which belong equally to everyone. Ownership of Aboriginal stories is passed down along tribal and family lines. Illustrations of these stories are referred to as Kurruwarri, which means ‘pattern’ or ‘design’, but also means ‘the law’. Kurruwarri refers to the patterns that come from Country–the way desert sands settle into ripples, or the movement of rivers after rain. When Warlpiri women paint themselves for ceremony, it is Kurruwarri.
Where it comes from
When Aboriginal artists move their brushes over canvas, it is Kurruwarri– the patterns of Country speaking through them. To obtain permission to use these very special Kurruwarri designs, Elissa Conoscente, our designer, travelled to the very heart of Australia– deep into the remote Tanami desert to a community called Yuendumu. In this tiny Warlpiri community, surrounded by the huge rock formations of sacred Rain Dreaming sites, she came to an agreement with the elders. They would share stories and patterns with her, and she would reproduce them as faithfully as possible through fabric medium. Our collaboration with Aboriginal artists complies with Aboriginal, particularly Warlpiri, cultural laws. We will never public designs that are “secret-sacred” or limited in any other way”.
Hand in hand, we are working together to safeguard the priceless heritage of Aboriginal Australians.
The story, the Songline, and the Dreaming Track,
must be preserved and re-told.
Indigenous art is an important part of Indigenous people’s heritage. We promote ethical working relationships with Indigenous artists and we are committed to ethical trade in Indigenous art as a means to support economic development in remote communities.
We use original artwork from central Australia’s ‘true outback’ designed by Indigenous Aboriginal artists telling their tales from ‘Dreamtime’ Australia.
If all of the specs weren’t cool enough, your purchase helps support a great cause: A portion of each sale goes towards a better quality of life for the Indigenous Australians who we thank for our beautiful artwork.
One of seven children, Otto Jungarrayi Sims was born and raised in Yuendumu, around 380km to the northwest of Alice Springs in the Tanami Desert. He is the custodian of Jukurrpa stories passed to him by his father, the painter Paddy Japaljarri Sims who became famous for painting the Yuendumu doors in collaboration with Paddy Japaljarri Stewart. These stories relate the songlines of his ancestral Country at Kunajarrayi and Yanjilpirri. Some of Otto’s Jukurrpa stories include Yiwarra, Yanjirlpirri, Warlu, Warna, and Ngarlkirdi (Milky Way, Star, Fire, Snake, and Witchetty Grub). Otto learned how to hunt goanna, kangaroo and emu from his father, as well as how to dance in ceremony. Like his father, Otto has built an international reputation as a Visual Artist & Aboriginal Rights Activist.
Born to Macedonian immigrants, Elissa grew up on the sun-soaked shores of Australia. She learned to sew on her mother’s old foot pedal singer at the early age of eight and developed an obsession for colour and creative clothing. After traveling the world working as a designer and seamstress from the stages of Warner Brothers to the Theatres of the West End of London, she settled down in New York with her family.
Since Elissa has been separated from her motherland for so long she has wondered how to reconnect herself with what lies deep in her heart. Her family, her Australian culture and her people. Always fascinated about the Dreamtime stories she would hear about as a child, Elissa wanted reconnect with Aboriginal culture and learn more about the oldest living Indigenous peoples in the world. Once she realized that connecting the two things that could help her to fill the missing gap in her heart the rest was easy. By connecting the job she loves to do (design & create) with the Australian culture that she misses.
Elissa loves to tinker with photography and distort the canvas for reprint on to fabrics. The first two original pieces that were produced for the Sunzi collection were the Tanami Dry and the Tanami ripples prints. Both of which are inspired by the beauty of the Tanami Desert.