Cultural Heritage Earns 'Top Designs' Praise

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Originating from Zimbabwe, Tinotenda Mubayiwa (Year 12) brings a distinctive talent to furniture design that merges African and Australian qualities in a product that is both functional and eye catching. 

Tino’s talent has seen him become not only the first student from Marymede Catholic College, but the first from an African background to be shortlisted for inclusion in the 2016 Product Design & Technology Top Designs program.

Using Jarrah,  a uniquely Australian timber with deep rich red tones and Victorian Ash that created shadow lines in contrasting soft straw pink, Tino designed and made a 2 piece product that is both a seat and a storage unit. 

With an eye for visual balance Tino wasn’t content to work just in timber as he was inspired by the fabrics from Zimbabwe that his mother Swiner wore.  Drawing first in coloured pencils he used earth tones that hark back to his heritage as he coupled burnt orange and black stripes.  Few other students would then take the concept further but Tino is a rare talent.  His original design was electronically sent to a printing company in the USA and within 10 days this unique fabric arrived back in Australia. 

He had overcome the technical challenges of making high quality furniture out of wood but sewing was not a skill Tino had envisaged he would also be acquiring.  With his usual calm demeanour he worked intently and the melding of two cultures became apparent to all.  

Tino brings upon the emergence of a new type of designer at Marymede where students from a range of ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to use their life stories and retranslate them into art and design works that surprise, as this seat with storage has the feel of Australia but it could never be as unique without the Zimbabwean influence.

Tino’s product along with a range of other art and design works by talented students in VCE Art, Media, Visual Communication and Design and Textiles will be exhibited at Marymede Catholic College in the recently established Calthorpe Gallery from November 7 – 11. 

Opening Night: Tuesday November 8: 3.45pm – 5.30pm


Written by Ms Robin Panousieris

VCE Product Design and Technology Teacher