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Communication, collaboration, and respect

Whilst unauthorised and inappropriate use of Indigenous designs and cultural appropriation are real and on-going problems, this white paper explains how reputable manufacturers, such as Designer Rugs, are addressing them.

Communication, collaboration, and respect


December 15th, 2022

Click here to download whitepaper

A vital, living part of the world’s oldest continuous culture and a means for Indigenous Australians to not just express connection to Country, but also strengthen their communities and achieve economic independence, Indigenous art continues to develop and thrive.

Beyond that, it has the unmistakable capability to work as a cultural bridge; to provide non-indigenous Australians – and indeed the broader global community – with a window to cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples.

Clearly, at least since the latter part of the 20th Century, it has succeeded in this sense. Right now, belatedly, Indigenous art is recognised, universally, as the exciting, vibrant movement it has always been. It is a common presence, across Australia, in our galleries, homes, and places of business.

While this inclusion is to be applauded, there is one curious aspect to the way many non-Indigenous people approach Indigenous art. As it stands, the work most in the broader community get to see is generally limited to paintings and sculptures. Despite the amount of great work being produced by Indigenous artists in a range of media, architects, homeowners, and business owners are cautious about including them in their homes and places of work.

Rugs and carpet are a good example. Right now, across Australia, emerging and established artists are leveraging the latest technologies and materials to create rugs that carry their own Indigenous designs. However, through a misplaced fear that incorporating designs in this way – and therefore allowing them to be walked on – may cause offence, many designers are choosing not to specify them.

This whitepaper examines the use of Indigenous designs in rugs. Acknowledging the fact that unauthorised and inappropriate use of Indigenous designs and cultural appropriation are real and on-going problems, it explains the ways that work completed through collaboration with reputable manufacturers, like Designer Rugs, addresses them; and how including these products into projects helps artists bring their ideas to fruition and provide financial benefits to First Nations people.

Click here to download whitepaper

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