Marlu (kangaroo) is a new range of furniture by Indigenous Australian designer Nicole Monks that draws on her rich cultural heritage in a highly crafted, bespoke series of design furniture pieces that are profoundly Australian. (See my previous article on Lucy Simpson and Nicole Monks)
Launched at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney last week, the range features three seating elements: ‘wabarn-wabarn’ (bounce) inspired by the movement of a kangaroo, ‘walarnu’ (boomerang) inspired by the shape of the boomerang used to hunt the kangaroo and ‘nyinajimanha’ (Sitting Together) inspired by the gathering around a table or camp fire to eat kangaroo tail stew.
The highly narrative nature of the collection recalls Monks’ Indigenous heritage: ‘Marlu’ was inspired by a trip back on country, visiting Nicole’s 93-year old “auntie” Dora Dann and reminiscing about Dora’s childhood including Nicole’s great-grandmother’s renowned kangaroo tail soup.
At the exhibition opening night, visitors were invited to sit around the ‘nyinajimanha’ set of table and chairs and have a “yarn” – a clever word play on chat (yarn) while knitting (with yarn). The shape of each stool is a rounded U-shape, typically used in Aboriginal art to symbolise a person sitting because it resembles the shape made on the ground when you sit.
Kangaroo skins and other objects and materials used in the creation of the series were also included in the exhibition.
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