TOP Annual General Meeting Tuesday 8th October

TOP logo

TOP will host its second annual general meeting Tuesday 8th October, 6-8pm. It will take place in TOP’s Fitzroy stodio. For members wishing to join us for this event please contact TOP ASAP to reserve a place.

Event: TOP Annual General Meeting 2013

Date: 8th October 2013

Time: 6-8pm

Address: Level 1, 110 Johnston St Fitzroy, 3066. Ring buzzer on arrival.

Mothers & Ink launch – HRAFF

The Ownership Project will be launching the Mothers & Ink exhibition as part of the 2013 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.

Join us in the gallery on Friday 17 May, 6 – 8pm to celebrate an exciting printmaking collaboration between The Ownership Project and women from the Horn of Africa community living in Carlton.

Artists: Nadia Ahmed, Almaz Desta, Yirgalem Frezghi, Roxana Fuentes, Khanya Ibrahim, Sarah Nega and Letay Tesfay.

Location: Level 1, 110 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. (Please note, the only access to the gallery is via stairs)

The exhibition will run 16 May – 2 June.

Partners: The Church of All Nations Community Support Program, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, the RE Ross Trust.

Artist Khanya Ibrahim and Printmaker Shaun Duggan in the studio. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Artist Khanya Ibrahim and Printmaker Shaun Duggan in the studio. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Mothers & Ink workshops

Artist Khanya Ibrahim. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Artist Khanya Ibrahim. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Artists Nadia Ahmed. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Artists Nadia Ahmed. Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

In true neighborhood collaboration, TOP has been running print workshops with women from the Horn of Africa community at the Carlton Housing Estate.

From February to April 2013, TOP printmakers made a weekly excursion down Johnston Street, setting up a makeshift studio in the Church of All Nations Community Drop-In Centre.

Held next to the Horn of Africa homework club, the workshops were established with mothers in the local community to provide an introduction to printmaking while their children received tutoring.

Beginning with the broad theme of ‘pattern and design’, the workshops became industrious afternoons of conversation, rapid design work and experimentation with different print techniques by hand.

Seven keen artists continued the project into its second phase, using the press in the TOP Studio to refine their work in preparation for exhibition.

While presenting each artist’s distinct individual style, the collective work details East African rituals and vibrant pattern work including henna design, illustrative harvest and food imagery, and traditional motifs in a playful and poetic series of prints.

These limited-edition prints will be exhibited as part of the 2013 Human Right Arts and Film Festival in The Ownership Project Gallery from 16 May to 2 June 2013.

Thank you to everyone who joined the workshops and our fantastic project partners; The Church of All Nations Community Support Program, the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, and the R.E. Ross Trust.

2013 Silent Print Auction

The Ownership Project’s Silent Print Auction 

Wed 20 March,  2013, 6-8pm.

Raising funds for The Ownership Project’s Studio and cultural development projects.

With prints donated by

Kylie Blackley, Rhea Degrenis, Shaun Duggen, Yoshe Guillespie, Craig Henry, Aerin Langworthy, Alexandra Lee, Edwina Lee, Chelsea O’Brien, Lani Pinnington, Pithbull, Cathy Robinson, Helen Sheferaw, Ben Silver, Jordan Wood and more…..

Please join us for live music, drinks, an opportunity to bid on a wonderful variety of donated print works and an exhibition of work made in TOP’s projects and programs.

The Ownership Project Gallery, Level 1, 110 Johnston Street, Fitzroy.

Cathy Robinson, untitled, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012.

January 2012 Elcho Workshop

Elcho Island 2012
Elcho Island 2012 prints

Once again we returned to Elcho Island Arts, Galiwinku, to collaborate with local artists. During the three week workshop, artists created limited edition prints centred on the themes of men’s and women’s business. Tommy Minburra and Andrew Markula created a series of culturally significant prints based on ceremonial designs painted onto the chests of young boys during Dhapi ceremony, marking a right of passage into manhood. Female artists chose to focus on subjects relating to their daily lives creating prints depicting pandanus weavings and bush tucker. Overall, the workshop resulted in a strong body of work with bolder designs and brighter colours than previous workshops. For those interested in seeing these prints please email us at

Judy Manany

Maria Peña’s Fachada exhibition launch

On Saturday 14 November TOP launched Fachada, an exhibition showcasing the prints, paintings, and sculptures by artist Maria Peña. Maria is one of The Ownership Project’s resident artists and has been creating work in close collaboration with printmakers Kylie Blackley and Sean Smith at TOP’s print studio over the last year.

The launch was an exciting event with a fantastic turnout. Gallery patrons on the night were estimated at a hundred, a lot to fit into our small Fitzroy showroom. Maria presented the context and significance of her artwork as well as explained the intricacies of the print making process learnt at TOP to a captivated audience. We would like to thank everyone for coming and creating such a joyous event and to congratulate Maria on her stunning new body of artwork.

Fachada: an exhibition by Maria Peña

Photo of Maria by Tamaryn Goodyear

Maria Peña joined TOP’s Artist in Residence program in early 2012 bringing a years of painting experience to her work in the print studio. Having studied fine arts in Bogotá, Colombia, Peña has continued her artistic practice living in Melbourne with a strong interest in hybrid identities and new cultures with reference to the Latin-American diaspora. Peña’s ongoing work with paint, fabric and mixed media installations assert what she describes as ‘spaces for memory’, detailing the ‘remembrances and oblivions’ of a lost home. During her residency in the TOP studio, Maria continued her exploration into memory and place, experimenting with different textural possibilities through various print mediums.

Fachada exhibition

14 November  - 2 December 2012

Here and there, Maria Peña, Reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012.

Inspired by the facades of old colonial buildings in rural Columbia, Peña’s selected paintings and new print works explore the memory of place and the textured memory. Scenes of decaying walls, brittle frameworks and peeling doors invite us to imagine past lives and rustic histories while evoking the fragile and layered nature of remembering place itself.

Opening event: Wednesday 14 November, 6-8pm at The Ownership Project gallery.

TOP at Koskela

TOP at Koskela 2
TOP at Koskela

As part of their All Things Print month, Koskela are exhibiting a small range of The Ownership Project prints in their incredible showroom in Rosebury, Sydney, until 21 October 2012. Stalwarts in quality Australian-made furniture and design products, Koskela is celebrating the wonderful art of printmaking with a range of print workshops and exhibitions, and TOP is thrilled to be involved in their program.

Featuring woodblock reduction prints made in TOP’s Artist in Residence program by artists Ruby Djikarra Alderton, Julius Bright Sackey and Helen Sheferaw, the works show the artists’ collective attention to contemporary color and design while drawing on their respective traditional cultural design elements. All prints are available for sale .

Sean from The Ownership Project will be running two public workshops in the Koskela showroom that will be fun, easy and open to any skill level.

Reduction woodblock print workshop: Saturday 13 Oct, 2 – 4.30pm.

Hand printing lino workshop: Sunday 14 Oct, 1.30 – 4pm.

For more information and bookings, please visit the Koskela workshops page.

Shorts in the Studio

On Thursday 27 September, The Ownership Project is hosting a short film night in the studio, showcasing stories set in local Melbourne communities and documentaries from North East Arnhem Land, NT.

Films include:

Eli the Invincible, Dir. Miranda Nation, 2011, (MIFF 2011, HRFF 2012)

Love This Time, Dir. Rhys Graham, 2005, (Special Mention – Berlinale International Film Festival 2006, Best Cinematography – Belo Horizonte Fim Festival 2006)

Mayang, Dir. Ruby Alderton, 2011 (created with The Mulka Project)

Wanga Watangumirri Dharuk,  Dir. Ishmael Marika, 2011, (created with The Mulka Project)

Cost: $20 (raising money for TOP’s Artist in Residency program)

7pm, Thursday 27 September, 2012, The Ownership Project studio, Level 1, 110 Johnston st Fitzroy.

As there is only room for 30 people in the studio, please email to save your seat!

Elcho Island cushion covers

Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

Photography by Tamaryn Goodyear

In celebration of the current Dirramu Ga Miyalku Djama print exhibtion, the Ownership Project is releasing a limited edition range of stunning, hand-printed cushion covers with lino cut designs commissioned from Elcho Island artists Judy Manany and Ruth Lulwarriwuy. All cushion covers have been carefully hand printed in The Ownership Project studio and manufactured a few streets away at The Social Studio.

Due to the nature of hand printing the lino designs, each cushion cover is unique in its design layout. Available in small and large sizes and an array of vibrant colour combinations.

These stunning Elcho Island cushion covers will be for sale in the gallery until sold out.

Photo by Tamaryn Goodyear

Photo by Tamaryn Goodyear

Dirramu Ga Miyalku Djama: Elcho Island exhibition

Dirramu Ga Miyalku Djama (Men’s and Women’s Work): Elcho Island exhibition

Exhibition: 13 September – 7 October 2012. Opening Event: Thursday 13 September 2012, 6-8pm.  

Mavis W Ganambarr, My Weaving, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012.

After last year’s popular Elcho Island print show that launched The Ownership Project gallery, TOP is proud to be hosting its second exhibition of new works from the remote community.

In January 2012, Sean travelled to Echo Island, NT, to run a one-week intensive print workshop at Elcho Island Arts centre. A group of emerging and established artists from Galiwin’ku and the nearby homelands attended the workshops, experimenting with colours in their varied depictions of work and ritual within the community.

Dirramu Ga Miyalku Djama is an exhibition of new, limited edition woodblock prints by Indigenous artists working with Elcho Island Arts in the Northern Territory. From men’s ceremonial chest designs to detailed weaving imagery and illustrated troupie tales, these remarkable, contemporary works tell of Yolngu tradition and culture from the remote island community.

Please joins us at The Ownership Project gallery on Thursday 13 September, 6 -8 pm, for a drink to celebrate the launch of the Dirramu Ga Miyalku Djama exhibition.

Artists Judy Manany and Tommy Minburra at work.

A Friend Loveth Always exhibition

The Ownership Project is excited to launch the first print exhibition of Helen Sheferaw on Thursday 16 August 2012 in our Fitzroy gallery, 6 – 8pm. Please join us for a drink and some Ethiopian finger food to celebrate Helen’s A Friend Loveth Always exhibition.

Helen joined the Artist in Residence program in early 2012. Having worked solidly in the studio with TOP’s printmakers, Helen has produced a wonderfully quirky body of work that pays heed her background in the fashion industry through her use of colour and design, bringing her energetic style into an exploration of narrative across different print forms.

Sheferaw’s print series encounters matters of the heart and spirit, from illustrative interpretations of key biblical readings to joyful and eclectic images drawn from the artist’s everyday world. A transformative exhibition of vivid spirituality merged with vibrant and industrious design.

Exhibition launch: Thursday 16 August, 2012, 6 – 8pm.  A Friend Loveth Always will run from August 16 until September 9, 2012, at The Ownership Project gallery, level1/110 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. 

Helen printing in the studio, photo by Tamaryn Goodyear, 2012.

Featured Work: Transfiguration series by Khue Nguyen

Khue Nguyen Transfiguration

Transfiguration 1, Khue Nguyen, 2012

Transfiguration is a series of four woodblock prints from the ongoing body of work of Vietnamese-Australian artist Khue Nguyen.

Born in Vietnam, Khue began his studies at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts and is currently undertaking his Masters of Visual Art at Monash University, with a major in drawing. His locally and internationally exhibited work presents a continued examination of the human form. In 2010, Khue was the first Vietnamese-Australian artist to become a finalist in the Archibald Prize with his self-portrait Unleashed.

Transfiguration marks a journey from figuration to abstraction. In his first venture into printmaking, Khue employs lyrical abstraction to explore the rhythm of human movement. Transfiguration represents both erratic and harmonic actions and the speed of contemporary life.

The Transfiguration series was created in The Ownership Project studio as part of the Artist in Residence Program.

Khue’s work will feature in the gallery from 21 June – 8 July 2012.

Ruby Djikarra Alderton’s TOP Internship

Rulyapa , Ruby Djikarra Alderton, 2012

Rulyapa, Ruby Djikarra Alderton, 2012

Last month TOP was privileged to have Ruby Djikarra Alderton working in our studio, an upcoming artist based in Yirrkala. Ruby recently co-managed the Yuta Project, a community based screen-printing workshop in partnership with TOP that engaged young people in Yirrkala with their local art centre. Over a couple of weeks in April she also undertook a professional internship with TOP and Alcaston Gallery, organised by Jessica Wraight. While in Melbourne for the internship Ruby also worked in TOP’s Fitzroy studio where she created three stunning woodblocks prints. It was a busy two weeks for her.

Based around Ruby’s traditional water current design these prints represent her first foray into reduction woodblock printing. These prints depict the channel of water that runs between Gutjangan (Bremer Island) and the mainland of Yirrkala, Arnhem Land. This body of water holds great meaning to the artist and her family. Using her signatory vibrant colours and sensitive patterning these woodblocks are a stunning triptych.

At just 18 Ruby is a fulltime printmaker at the Yirrkala Print Space, Buku-Larrnggay Mulka centre (BLMC). Here she not only creates her own work, but also collaborates with established Yirrkala artists. Ruby has also been accepted into the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Big congratulations to her and the team at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre. We look forward to working together in the future.

Ruby’s three prints will be launched at top in the coming weeks.

Ruby and TOP printmaker Sean Smith

Ruby and TOP printmaker Sean Smith

The Ownership Project’s Silent Print Auction Fundraiser

Rah Goh, Ru Yi Lun II, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012

Brad Rusbridge, Souvenir, reduction woodblock on Magnani paper, 2012

The Ownership Project’s Artist in Residence program provides free art training and exhibition management mentoring for artists from newly-arrived, refugee and Indigenous Australian backgrounds. We are currently working with a dedicated and talented team of artists who will be exhibiting their work in the gallery in 2012.

With a selection of woodblock prints and etchings donated by friends of The Ownership Project available by auction, we invite you to come and enjoy good company, experience beautiful art, and help support the project. Overall, nine artists have contributed prints created at our Fitzroy studio as part of our public printmaking classes. Artists include:

Kylie Blackley, Ray Goh, Liz Lacey, Yvette Ladzinski, Cathy Robinson, Brad Rusbridge, Charlie Merchovich, Sean Smith & Jessica Wraight.

All proceeds from the auction will help sustain our Artist in Residence program, including art supplies, specialised support, equipment and further artist opportunities.

A selection of our current Artist in Residence and remote Indigenous partnerships stock will be available for viewing and purchasing on the evening.

We hope to see you there.

Date: Thursday 24 May 

Time: 6 – 8pm

Auction announced 7:45pm

Address: Level 1, 110 Johnston St, Fitzroy

TOP launches first Artist in Residence exhibition – Julius Bright Sackey

Sackey, close up

Last Saturday The Ownership Project launched Akwantu, a new exhibition of prints by our first Artist in Residence Julius Bright Sackey. The title of the show Akwantu means Departure in Fanti and reflects Sackey’s personal journey from Ghana to Australia. It also mirrors his departure from his starting inspiration, Adinkra symbols, into his more contemporary play with pattern and colour.

Officially opening the event was Claudia Abakah, President of the Ghana Association of Victoria. We would like to extend a very big thank you to Claudia for making the time to open the show.

Congratulations to Julius Bright Sackey on his stunning new print collection.

Akwantu will be on display till the 15th April at The Ownership Project gallery in Fitzroy.

TOP launches 2012 printmaking classes

The Ownership Project (TOP) is offering short printmaking courses with industry experienced printmakers in 2012. Classes have a maximum of five participants to ensure a valuable learning experience for all involved. In these workshops participants will learn how to design, cut, mix colours and print reduction woodblocks. These sessions will produce an edition of prints for each person to keep. Participants are also invited to include their work as part of a bi-annual group exhibition at TOP gallery.

Course structure

Courses run for 3 hour sessions weekly over 3-4 weeks. Courses run Saturday mornings, 9:00 – 12:00pm. Should there be a group of people interested in holding workshops at an alternate time, this is also a possibility should the numbers allow for it.

Course cost

Course price: $350 (three classes of 3 hours). All materials supplied.

To check availability/book a session or for more information please contact Sean Smith on 0448 567 883 or email

TOP Studio and Gallery, Level 1, 110 Johnston St, Fitzroy, 3065

Yuta Project, Yirrkala Art Centre

Working with disengaged Indigenous youth in Yirrkala, Sean Smith worked with Ruby Alderton and Annie Studd from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka (Yirrkala Art Centre) to run a screen-printing workshop. Over the two week period young people between 12 and 22 years old created complex artworks by using digital images of photos taken by the participants of scenes from within their community and layering their own imagery over these images resulting in sophisticated contemporary artworks. The artwork is a reflection of what these young people find important in their daily lives and is a powerful insight into issues facing Indigenous youth in Yirrkala. It is also a testament to the immense talent the next generation of artists in this region has.

Printmaking Yuta Project

TOP takes on new artists for our 2012 Artist in Residence Program

TOP kick starts 2012 by taking on new artists for our new Artist in Residence program.

It has been a busy first year for TOP, with set up and various projects starting to take off, including remote textile and printing workshops, taking onboard a few key artists, running industry workshops, creating our first group of volunteers, opening our showroom with a stunning suit of new prints from Elcho Island, and launching our new limited edition ethical cushion covers all in time for Xmas.

One of the most exciting projects that has been in development over the last few months has been our artist-in-residence program. We have now eight artists from culturally and linguistically diverse communities across Melbourne enrolled for next year. Each participant will have the opportunity to learn from our industry experienced team about various art methods and the opportunity to create and manage their own art exhibition at our Fitzroy showroom. For individuals, especially from disadvantaged refugee and new arrived backrounds, we also provide skills development in the areas of exhibition management and literacy training. All these programs are free of charge for participants in our residency program, with costs covered by profits generated through community support through sales of artwork. As we grow we hope certain individuals from this program will join our growing team, creating increased employment opportunities and positive role models for younger future participants.

This program will provide a platform to newly arrived individuals and members of the many diverse communities residing in Melbourne to express their unique and valuable insights enriching Australian society. We hope to provide a friendly welcoming space built on respect for all cultures, empower individuals by providing them with training and a platform to express their point of view, and changing attitudes within the broader community.

If you would like to support us and be on our exhibition mailing list to be kept abreast of upcoming events and exhibitions please email:

TOP launches limited edition ethical cushion covers

The Ownership Project has partnered with The Social Studio and MakingIt, Flemington Community Centre, to create a new limited range of hand printed cushion covers. Perfect for Xmas, these beautiful one off pieces really benefit the community with profits shared between the remote indigenous artists who designed the fabrics, various local Melbournian social-enterprises who sewed them and TOP. The profits generated for TOP will be used to further its Artist in Residence program and other community initiatives it participates in.

Each cushion cover is painstakingly hand printed and is thus unique. No two cushion covers are the same, so be quick to check them out before Xmas. To view these cushion covers please visit our studio in Fitzroy, 11-6pm, Thur-Sun.

We can also create limited yardage on request.

“It’s rewarding for us to see appreciation of our skills, to know the things we make are for sale and people like them” – Participant from The Social Studio involved in this project.