Sean Smith

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


Etch This!

The Young Artists' Residency exhibition, Etch This!, opened on 18 June and ran until 4 July 2015 as part of the Emerge Festival. Here are a few highlights of the evening's celebration of the beautiful artistry by Guled Abdulwasi, Ayel Akot, and Souma Ahmadi who were mentored by printmakers Sean Smith and Minela Krupic.

Etch This!, part of Emerge in Yarra, was produced by The Ownership Project in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria and supported by Creative Victoria, the City of Yarra and the Professional Pathways Scholarship of the Faculty of VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne.

The Yuta Project Success in the USA

Mikey Gurruwiwi, ‘Ngarra’, 2012, screenprint. Image courtesy the artist and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre

A selection of screen prints from The Yuta Project have been exhibited at Harvey Arts Project, Idaho, USA. TOP would like to congratulate the young artists, printmakers Ruby Alderton, Annie Studd, and Sean Smith, as well as Buku-Larrnggay Mulka on yet another incredible outcome for The Yuta Project.

The Yuta Project was a youth-driven series of workshops held at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts, Yirrkala, Northern Territory. The workshops resulted in a series of prints produced by young Yolngu artists. This engagement project empowered the individuals in the community, without boundaries or judgment, providing a safe space where young Yolngu can express themselves artistically.

These bold, contemporary, and sophisticated artworks are a reflection of what these young artists find important in their daily lives and are a powerful insight into issues facing Indigenous youth in Yirrkala. They are also a testament to the immense talent the next generation of artists in the region hold. TOP also commends the progress of three participants in The Yuta Project who have become new staff members at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Print Space.

Please click here to see the selection of Yuta Prints on display at Harvey Arts Project, USA.

Please click here to see Djuwakan 2 (DJ) Marika’s print, Mari (2012), currently on display in String Theory, a national touring exhibition currently on display at the Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT).

Djuwakan 2 (DJ) Marika, Mari, 2012, screenprint. Image courtesy the artist and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre

Mikey Guyanya Gurruwiwi, Petrol Sniffer, 2012, screenprint. Image courtesy the artist and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre

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.

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.

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 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:

Elcho Island Mural Project

Elcho Island Mural Project

Sean was recently asked by Marthakal Homelands Resource Centre (an Indigenous directed organisation in the Northern Territory responsible for providing services to remote Indigenous communities/homelands) to assist with directing and facilitating a mural project at the only motel on Elcho Island. The project was directed by local community members to provide visitors with an awareness of Indigenous culture on the island. Marthakal Visitor Accommodation is now not only more colourful, but a source of pride and identification for all those within the community who participated in the project. For more photos of the project please visit our facebook page. To contact Marthakal Visitor Accommodation you can contact them on (08) 8970 5157.

The Ownership Project would very much like to thank Julie White, Daisy Gumbala, and Susan Wedlock and all the staff at Marthakal for their support throughout the project. Sean Smith and the artists greatly appreciated it.

Textiles workshop with Koskela Design

Ruth Lulwarriwuy grinding down ochres for her art

Ruth Lulwarriwuy grinding down ochres for her art

In July, Sean travelled to remote Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, to run a textile workshop in conjunction with Sydney based design company, Koskela Designs. The collaboration between Koskela Designs, Sean, and the talented local artists was incredibly fruitful.

Out of the workshop a stunning new range of fabric designs were created by Megan Gurruwiwi, Judy Manany, Mavis Ganambarr, Ruth Lulwarriwuy, and Margaret Rarru. Keep an eye on the Koskela Designs website for details of when this new range of fabric will be released.

Check out Kosela Designs.

Elcho Island Print Workshop, June 2011

Elcho Island Workshop 2011

In June Sean, from The Ownership Project, spent 5 days working with artists from Galiwin’ku in north east Arnhem Land. Participating in this reduction woodblock workshop was a mix of some well-seasoned artists and new emerging talent. After a hectic 4 days of printing, punctuated by ceremony, Sean and the artists completed seven striking reduction woodblock editions.

Participating artists included star weavers Mavis Ganambarr and Judy Manany. Also participating was husband and wife team Andrew Markula and Charmaine Ashley, talented weaver and painter Ruth Lulwarriwuy. emerging artist Katrina Burarruwanga, and senior man Frank Wunungmurra.

A set of these prints will be on display at The Ownership Project Gallery and Studio between 27 September and 9 October.

For further information about these prints please contact Sean Smith on 0448 567 883.

Elcho Island Arts partners with Sean Smith from The Ownership Project to create new suite of prints

Mavis Ganambars paintings and prints

Mavis Ganambars paintings and prints

In the first week of June 2011 Sean ran a one-week print workshop at Elcho Island Arts. During the five-day workshop, Sean and Indigenous artists from the remote art centre worked tirelessly to create seven beautiful reduction woodblock prints.

The theme of the workshop was ‘New Stories, Old Stories’, with artists drawing on both traditional artistic styles, as well as modern life stories. Nine artists were involved in the project. Prints created are a beautiful reflection of the culturally rich and diverse elements of Yolngu culture. Both the traditional and contemporary elements of Arnhem Land art collide, resulting in the vibrant and colourful suite of prints.

For more information about these prints and how to purchase them contact Elcho Island Arts on (08) 8970 5088.