IndigeDesignLabs is making waves as a small but mighty First Nations design and creative hub. Led by Aboriginal creative Leigh Harris, alongside a team of aspiring young creatives and skilled mentors, Tarquin Singleton and Sheree Jacobs, this dynamic group is establishing itself as a powerhouse of modern First Nations creative and digital design.
Their recent collaboration with MECCA cosmetics is a testament to their ability to infuse contemporary aesthetics with a youthful twist on culture and modern First Nations design.
The journey began when MECCA Group approached ingeous studios, a well-established First Nations design and creative agency and a major supporter of IndigeDesignLabs. Recognising the potential in combining their expertise with the fresh perspectives of the young team, ingeous studios facilitated the collaboration alongside MECCA. By providing contractual donations and introducing new opportunities, ingeous studios ensured the success of IndigeDesignLabs’ projects.
IndigeDesignLabs aims to break the stereotype that First Nations creatives is limited to fashion and traditional art. They believe that design encompasses everything around us, and their unique creative flair is bringing a fresh perspective to visual and digital design. While they aspire to work with corporate giants like Apple, Adobe, Google, Qantas or Bunnings they are equally enthusiastic about community projects that bring joy to people’s faces.
“We’re really proud of the work we have done with MECCA, we have a small team of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspiring designers and we’re ready to connect with Corporates that want to make change and look great at the same time.”
The team is driven by their commitment to sharing the importance of First Nations design and the importance of culturally safe First Nations design that must be inclusive of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design and the value it adds to all visual aspects. Their dedication to nurturing young talent is commendable, as they have already shared their knowledge and skills with over 80 students in the Cairns region. Through their efforts, they are fostering a new generation of Indigenous designers who will carry forward this rich cultural heritage.
IndigeDesignLabs’ reach extends beyond the realm of design alone. Their current endeavor, the “I am Here” project, focuses on capturing the portraits of esteemed elders in the Cairns region. This initiative aligns with this year’s NAIDOC theme and celebrates the wisdom and contributions of the older generation. By shedding light on the significance of spending time with and respecting elders, IndigeDesignLabs aims to bring smiles to the faces of Cairns residents.
“Ensuring that our designs are culturally sound is the most important thing that we teach the young people, so much work is being done that is not inclusive of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. We ensures that our creatives are a true representation of both and the diversity of our cultures.”
Funded for three years by the John T Reid Foundation foundation, which expired in 2022, IndigeDesignLabs has transitioned into a sustainable creative impact hub. Their collaboration with ingeous studios, combined with the opportunities they have embraced, has paved the way for their continued success. The support provided by Northsite Contemporary Arts, which offers a creative space for their endeavors and foundational support, has also been instrumental in their growth.