Pou Auaha / Creative DirectorGareth O'Brien
Ringatoi Matua / Design DirectorsMalisa Perona, Sam Scopelliti, Will Pietsch
ClientIyoria Kinship Homes/BMF
Spearheaded by Aunty Margret with the support of the New South Wales Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC), this was a pro bono job we did to help promote a brand new accommodation facility built for elderly Aboriginal people, focused on their connection to their land, culture, and traditions.
Indigenous Australians have a proud heritage which includes a traditional lifestyle and a deep connection to the land. Their way of life has been disrupted and decimated over time, severely impacting these communities. In some cases, even affecting their will to live. Look no further than life-expectancy data across all Australians to see these disturbing trends.
The Iyoria Aboriginal Elders Belonging Estate is but one response to these trajectories.
In order to create a piece that honored the values of Aboriginal culture and heritage, we took inspiration from the textures, materials, and patterns that we find in Australian flora. We used grit, red dirt, patterns on bark, rocks, eucalyptus leaves, and references to the sun and the moon. We wanted to contrast this rich, earthy world with modern day Gadigal land — concrete Sydney — to emphasize what was lost.
There’s also nods to symbols of community found in Indigeneous culture which you can see in the Iyoria logo and elsewhere.
The power of this piece and its natural focus is in Aunty Margret’s narration. We wanted to keep the spotlight on that narration so our designs were meant to play a supporting role. The vibe is empathetic, slow, and considered.
The highlight of this project was visiting Aunty Margret and some of the elders at the NSWICC, where we were welcomed to their land, got to learn a bit more about the history of the area, and how the development site fits within the larger picture.