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

Horn of Plenty


Horn of Plenty is an exhibition of new prints by local East African artists, the culmination of two years of workshops. Industrious neighbourhood afternoons weave conversation with vibrant pattern work, encompassing daily rituals, henna work, seasonal harvests, and playful objects.
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.
Horn of Plenty is a satellite exhibition in the Craft Cubed Festival: The Art of Handmade, running 1-31 August 2014. In the trio of exhibitions it follows Harvest (2014) and Mothers and Ink (2013). This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

Opening: 6pm Friday 8 August

Current: 8-24 August in Craft Cubed Festival

Craft Cubed 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.

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

Clan and Country

Shakara Montalto (close up of etching)

Star of Dennis, Dennis Thorpe, woodblock on Magnani paper

An exhibition of new installation, etching, and relief works by Aboriginal artists Shakara Montalto (Gunditjmara) and Dennis Thorpe (Muruwari). 2013 has been an introduction to printmaking for these artists. The works created are brief excursions on the surface of the complexities of existence. The dynamics of symbolism, representation, drug use in society, cultural identity and sustainability are shifting. Bright pop colours, found objects and the power of language are icons across the spectrum of culture represented in this exhibition.


30 November – 8 December 2013

Opening event: Saturday 30 November, 2-4pm

Location: Level 1, 110 Johnston St, Fitzroy

the torch logo

Special thanks to City of Yarra for their ongoing support.

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.

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.

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.

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 gallery opens

TOP Gallery opening

Last Saturday,  TOP gallery opened with a stunning suite of prints from Elcho Island. This exhibition launched a new series of reduction woodblocks created in a workshop run by TOP in collaboration with Elcho Island Arts and Craft. It also hosted a retrospective of prints created on the island over the last two years. This island community has many talented visual artists and we are privileged to exhibit their work in Melbourne.

The response from the community has been overwhelming. We had an amazing turnout with some familiar faces as well as many new ones. Many thanks to artist Sue Rankin for her welcome to country and her blessing for TOP. We are very grateful.

Thank you to all those who attended and we look forward to seeing you all at our next opening.

For more photos of the opening please check out our facebook page

Exhibition of Elcho Island prints at TOP

TOP Opening

Come along and celebrate the  opening of The Ownership Project in which we will be launching a new suite of reduction woodblock prints created by artists in Galiwin’ku on the remote Elcho Island, East Arnhem Land.
Accompanying these new prints is a stunning retrospective of prints produced over the last two years at Elcho Island Arts.
This exhibition gives a powerful overview and insight into both traditional and contemporary Yolngu culture.

Hope to see you there!
Date: Saturday, October 1st 2011
Time: 4-7pm

Address: Level 1, 110 Johnston St, Fitzroy  3065