Dali dyalgala - A First Nations fabric range

Koskela believes in a Reconciled Australia, by using our design and production skills we collaborate with First Nations peoples to create contemporary design ideas and products that celebrate First Nations histories and cultures.  

To celebrate Reconciliation Week this year, we’re excited to launch a project three years in the making. Spanning the Tiwi Islands, Northern Rivers and Northern Territory, this project truly highlights the adaptability, breadth and depth of artistic expression in the First Nations design industry. The project is a fabric range, a special collaboration between Koskela and First Nations artists called Dali dyalgala.

Dali dyalgala is a Darug phrase meaning to embrace. A fitting reflection of the coming together of six female artists across the country from various language groups and cultures. The choice to use Darug language ties the project back to Koskela as we pay respects and acknowledge our local language of the Eora people. Dali dyalgala is a gesture of reconciliation, to embrace one another and work together to make positive change.

Koskela licensed the artworks directly from the artists and art centres to develop a range of unique colourways for each artist. Dali dyalgala presents a new opportunity to create income streams for First Nations artists and is an exciting addition to Koskela’s range.

Meet the artists 

Lucy Simpson

Yuwaalaraay woman Lucy Simpson is Creative Director and Principal Designer behind Sydney based design studio Gaawaa Miyay (2009). Simpson's process-led practice is inspired by country, relationships, and notions of continuity. Guided by the philosophies of First Nations design, Simpson maps place, experience, and time (story) through materiality and transfer, with commercial / conceptual / community based projects and collaborations spanning a range of media and disciplines. 

We were lucky enough to interview and get the inside scoop from Lucy on the design process for this fabric range.

 Lucy Simpson Gaawaa Miyay

Lucy Simpson Gaawaa Miyay

Lucy Simpsons fabric on the Brolga Armchair

How did you approach creating the designs for the fabrics?

My approach to design is that it is always born from country and experience. Translating and weaving story through fibre in visual and tactile ways for everyday use. These specific designs speak of time, movement, and transfer, from the vast aerial mapping of our beautiful ngurrambaa (special family lands) in all its entirety, to the significance of a single seed which awakens with the coming of the spring wind to play its role in keeping country strong.

What do you want to convey in your fabric designs?

These designs are special because they are personal, they contain memory and story passed down over time through family and complex interwoven relationships. I belong to this Yuwaalaraay ngurrambaa and with that belonging comes responsibility. 

For me this work is a celebration of beauty and strength long-time (both back and forward).

 It embodies an ever changing yet continuing story of place and time, and acts as a reminder of the roles we play as a wider community in looking after that which sustains and cares for us all.

How do these fabrics relate to your regular art practice?

My practice includes work across graphics, illustration, printmaking, textiles, fashion, firework, ceramics, glass and object design. Over the years I have developed a diverse range of projects and products both independently and under licensing and collaboration with commercial, community and conceptual outcomes, but what brings it all together is the story, with design and materiality the conduit. This range of textiles is a beautiful continuation of that ongoing narrative, bringing me back to my first love of textiles, where it all started with Gaawaa Miyay 13 years ago.

Penny Evans 

Penny is a talented Gomeroi artist based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. Penny is widely known for her ceramic practice but works across multiple mediums including mixed media works on paper and now fabrics. Fun fact: We are currently working with Penny on a First Nations Design project at AMP! So watch this space to see more of Penny's incredible works.

"My individual identity & identities as a broader issue for all people living here, and particularly those of us connected here prior to and from the time of first contact, are of great interest to me. My work is an homage to my grandfather, great grandmother and their individual life struggles as Aborigines in a climate of virulent racism in Australia. My art practice is healing and my work is often a mapping of my personal psychological and spiritual development." - Penny Evans

Regina Wilson

Regina Wilson is a world renowned senior artist and Cultural Director Durrmu Arts. Koskela has a long standing relationship with Regina and have exhibited her work both individually and in a group show. Fun fact: You might recognise Regina's designs as we have exhibited them before! 

Regina has an impressive history in the art space, exhibiting internationally in prestigious museums and is the recipient of numerous art awards. In 1973, together with her husband, Harold Wilson, Regina founded the Peppimenarti (meaning ‘large rock’) Community as a permanent settlement for the Ngan’gikurrungurr people. The location of the community is an important dreaming site for the Ngan’gikurrungurr language group and is situated amid wetlands and floodplains at the centre of the Daly River Aboriginal Reserve, 300 kilometres southwest of Darwin. 

Regina Wilson Durrmu Arts

Regina Wilson Durrmu Arts

Raylene Miller

Raylene is an artists and textile screen printer from Milikapiti. Raylene's Grandfather, Richard was a traditional owner of Milikapiti.

Raylene Millers' fabric on our bean bag

I paint my Jilamara with pwoja. I also like to paint Japalinga (stars) in the Tiwi sky and my Mother's dreaming, Jarrikalani (turtle) - Raylene Miller

Raylene is an artist with Jilamara Arts, established in 1989, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association is owned and governed by Tiwi artists from Milikapiti community on Melville Island. In Tiwi language, Jilamara means design which is explored across mulptip mediums such as textiles, carvings, paintings and prints. 

The Tiwi Islands, Bathurst Island & Melville Island, are north of Darwin and have been home to Tiwi people since parlingarri (a long time ago). Milikapiti community is on the coast over overlooking the Arafura Sea. It’s a happy place, with strong families and strong culture. Through workshops, training, support and representation, Jilamara artists are supported to build careers as internationally renowned artists.

In the community, the art centre is recognised as an important place for children and emerging artists to learn from the senior artists and elders about their culture and practices. The Muluwurri Museum is an important keeping place for Tiwi culture and stories, important for remembering old ways and the old people who started Jilamara. For artists and community members, the art centre presents an opportunity to earn an independent income in a supportive environment. 

Jacinta Lorenzo

Jacinta Lorenzo was born in Darwin but now lives and works in Milikapiti.

"The patterns I use come from my head, I don't just have one type." - Jacinta Lorenzo

Jacinta is also an artist with Jilamara Design, we're lucky enough to have licensed one of her works entitled, 'Taringa Mipurra, which has been developed in four colour-ways. 

Raelene Kerinauia Lampuwatu

Raelene was born on Bathurst Island and moved to Milikapiti in 1985. Raelene paints with the traditional Tiwi comb carved from ironwood. Aside from her own arts practice, Raelene also teaches younger ladies how to screen print. Raelene is an artist with Jilamara her design, 'Pwoja,' is featured in our fabric range across four colour-ways. 

Raelene Kerinauia Jilamara Arts

Raelene Kerinauia Jilamara Arts

Dali dyalgala in action