Artist in Residence

My Culture - Artur Brata Laras, Chico dos Santos, Amos Wainggai

Untitled  by Amos Wainggai, woodblock print on Magnani paper, 20 x 30cm, 2014

Untitled by Amos Wainggai, woodblock print on Magnani paper, 20 x 30cm, 2014

TETUN Badinas-nain husi dalan arte-nian husi Rai Papua-Oeste, Ilha Bali, no Timor-Leste, hamutuk hodi hatutan ba ita hotu Hau Rain. Artur Brata Laras, Chico dos Santos, no Amos Wainggai, kria ona liman etun badinas-nian nebe limitado hodi pinta ho risku furak iha Ai-kabelak no besi tahan nia leten hamutuk ho uma-arte Projekto Ita Nian Rasik. Sa-mak sei hatutan iha Hau Rain mak hanesan: konta hodi hanoin fali tempu sei labarik-oan, ilas kultura no lisan no moedas Bei-ala nian, no mos istoria libertasaun, moris nia lalaok no espiritu forte hodi Hadiak-dalan nudar Nasaun rasik-Hamrik Mesak!

BALINESE Seniman saking Papua Barat, Pulau Bali lan Timor-Leste sareng-sareng mapupul ngarincikan acara sane mawasta My Country. Artur Brata Laras, Chico dos Santos lan Amos Wainggai sampun ngardi pakaryan sane mapatok inggih punika kayu sane matakeh lan etsa sane kakaryanin ring studio The Ownership Project. Ring sajeroning My Country pacang kalaksanyang kilasan kenangan sadaweg alit, rancangan niskala lan wangsa, rauh ring pikayunan-pikayunan sane mabuat indik kebebasan lan penentuan jalan hidup.

AMBAI Inontarai ewe ewonomi na nu Papua nu Bali foi tuti nu Timor Leste ame. Gandhi amea we kariri nu ameneng foi. Artur Brata Laras, Chico dos Santos, tutu Amos Wainggai, amenari fi waworu ame tainawi mahikai amewe arikang pa toiri o kaiwasa mano etoa siaiyam posa.

ENGLISH Artists from West Papua, Pulau Bali, and Timor-Leste come together to present My Culture. Artur Brata Laras, Chico dos Santos, and Amos Wainggai have created new limited edition woodblock prints and etchings in The Ownership Project’s print studio. Presented in My Culture are snapshots of childhood memory, spiritual and tribal designs, as well as notions of freedom and self-determination.


OPENING 6-8pm Friday 21 August

CURRENT 22 August – 12 September 2015 in Craft Cubed Festival

GALLERY Level 1, 110 Johnston St, Fitzroy

This arts project was supported by the City of Yarra



Image:  Untitled , Roxana Fuentes, drypoint etching on Hahnemühle paper, 20 x 15cm, 2014                

Image: Untitled, Roxana Fuentes, drypoint etching on Hahnemühle paper, 20 x 15cm, 2014






In February, TOP launched a new series of limited edition prints. Over the holiday break our studio remained active with resident artists invited to work with printmaker, Sean Smith, to create a small series of new dry-point etchings utilising offcut etching plates.

The resultant series explores themes as diverse as personal growth and hardship, beloved pets, self-portraiture, and decorative pattern. Artists Hamed Rayat, Maria Peña, Ghazal Shokrollahi, Roxana Fuentes, and print tutor Sean Smith will be exhibiting these new limited edition prints at TOP’s exhibition space in Fitzroy.

Exhibition Dates: 20 February – 14 March 2015

Total Eclipse

Helen Sheferaw, About the Moon #2, monotype on Hahnemühle paper (2014)


Total Eclipse is an exhibition of new prints by TOP artists in residence. Working in relief and intaglio printmaking, these artists draw on lived experience, aesthetics and cultural memory spanning Colombia, Ethiopia, Chile, Iran, Gunditjmara Country, and cosmopolitan Melbourne more broadly.
Collectively the works range in material influences, from colonial architecture, timeworn neighbourhoods, flights of spirituality and fancy, and portraiture, to ancestral motif repertoires, etched still life, as well as the sounds and contours of the sun, moon and stars.
Compelling stories and individual sensibilities for texture, colour, and pattern. The works voice personal histories of movement and home, marking connections to place and to the interstitial emotional territories.
The Ownership Project is supported by the City of Yarra through the Creative Yarra triennial funding program.

Opening: 6pm Friday 19 September

Current: 19 September-5 October in Melbourne Fringe Festival

Melbourne Fringe Festival Logo

Of Water and Will opening

This is an exhibition of new prints by The Ownership Project’s resident artists.

Adept at storytelling, the artists have individual sensibilities for texture, colour, and pattern. The works voice personal histories of movement and home, marking connections to place and to times past and to come.

Opening 6-8pm
Friday 14 March


Current to 9 April

City of Yarra logo

This arts project was supported by the City of Yarra.

Shakara Montalto featured in Whittlesea Leader Newspaper

Untitled, Shakara Montalto, etching on Hahnemühle paper, 25 x 25cm.

The Ownership Project artist Shakara Montalto is featured in an article in the Whittlesea Leader, which you can read here

Shakara Montalto joined The Ownership Projects (TOP) Indigenous Artist in Residence Program in late 2013. She has created a large body of delicate line etchings and bold woodblocks exploring personal themes of loss and identity. Her work is available for viewing at TOP’s Fitzroy gallery.

TOP would like to congratulate Montalto on her achievements this year and express how excited we are to continue working together in 2014.

2013 Retrospective

Featuring a selection of handmade prints and installations by TOP’s resident artists Helen Sheferaw, Ghazaleh Shokrollahi, Khue Nguyen, María Peña, Julius Bright Sackey, Ruby Djikarra Alderton.

The retrospective celebrates significant moments in the complex visual cultural narrative of The Ownership Project, from The Yuta Project screenprints by young artists from Yirrkala (NT), depictions of Yolŋgu culture and clan designs from Elcho Island (NT), to the Mothers and Ink prints by women from Horn of Africa communities (VIC), and the Clan and Country prints and installations from local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (VIC).

Join us to celebrate the works and connections made to date, and the exciting future ahead for TOP’s Creative Capacity and Artists in Residence programs in Kulin Country.


Opening event: 6-8pm Thursday 12 December

Exhibition dates: 12 – 22 December 2013

Gallery: Level 1/110 Johnston St, Fitzroy

Installation by Helen Sheferaw

by Helen Sheferaw

Pinapple by Nadia Ahmed

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.

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 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:

Julius Sackey working on two new prints

Sackey’s print in progress
Sackey hard at work cutting his woodblock

Sackey hard at work cutting his woodblock

Ghanaian born Julius Sackey, who has previously printed fabric with The Ownership Project, has made his first foray into printmaking. Over a week he has taken time out of his busy work schedule to create two prints. These two prints will be the first in a series which we hope to exhibit in late October when we will host Sackey’s first solo exhibition.