Breville’s new collection, an Aboriginal Australian Culinary Journey, is putting Indigenous artists in the spotlight – and on our kitchen benches!
The Australian appliance brand has partnered with Wadi Wadi and Walbanga woman Alison Page and the National Museum of Australia to adorn six Breville products with incredible Aboriginal artworks.
This landmark collaboration has been decades in the making! It all started with a fortuitous conversation between Alison and Breville’s design and innovation director Richard Hoare, at a friend’s wedding in 2006.
But it wasn’t until about 10 years later that the concept actually came to fruition, when the Breville team began seriously exploring First Nations initiatives and possible collaborations. Richard recalled Alison’s idea to feature Indigenous art on everyday kitchen products, and reached out to her to curate the collection.
What evolved is a passion project filled with care every step of the way – and six very special kitchen appliances wrapped in art. It also sets a real benchmark for a co-designed, co-curated, and benefit-sharing collaboration model unlike many Indigenous initiatives before it. Everyone in the project from Breville was heavily invested in doing it ‘right’, and a as a result, the range was driven by Indigenous input from the start, with Alison at the helm.
The range includes a toaster, kettle, air-fryer oven, juicer, coffee maker and espresso machine covered in striking artwork, each one sharing powerful stories of Country. The artists own the copyright for their work and they receive a royalty for each product produced. Plus, 100% of Breville’s profits will go to First Nations foundations: the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, Indi Kindi by the Moriarty Foundation, and Indigenous scholarship programs at UTS.
‘An Aboriginal Culinary Journey is an ambitious initiative to tell stories of our country using products as canvas,’ Alison says.
For the collection, Alison reached out to three globally renowned Western Desert artists from the Papunya Tula Artists centre – Yalti Napangati, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and Yukultji Napangati – in addition to Sydney-based artist and Yuwaalaraay woman, Lucy Simpson.
‘Our artists, Yalti, Yukultji, Warlimpirrnga and Lucy embraced this project so effortlessly and intuitively, and imbued so much story and meaning to each piece,’ she adds.
Alison and the Breville team visited the remote Indigenous Kiwirrkurra community in Central Australia, where the artists each painted directly on to an object. Amazingly, it only took them one try to create each design, before the brand developed an innovative process involving an intricate layering of paints, graphics and texture to retain the artwork’s original tactile quality and integrity, in limited edition quantities.
Aside from being visually beautiful, the collection is also an apt celebration of Indigenous Australians as the world’s oldest living food culture.
“When it comes to food preparation and cooking, Indigenous Australians have been at it longer than most,’ Alison says. ‘Even their most basic tools for preparing food were layered with a 65,000-year history told through symbols and stories, which are painted, burned and etched into their objects.’
It’s a triumphant range that combines ancient stories with contemporary design and food, paving the way for future cross-cultural collaborations.