In July 2010, Damien was invited by the Gumatj Corporation to establish a furniture making studio on the remote indigenous community of Gunyangara in North East Arnhem Land.
Relocating to the Nhulunbuy region for a period of six months, Damien worked with the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu people in a collaborative craft, training and employment project — Dharpa Djama.
Together Damien and the Yolngu men discovered that the local timber species, Gadayka (Darwin Stringybark), makes a beautiful furniture grade timber. They created several exemplary pieces of furniture — including tables, benches and beds — for both local community use and for sale. All profits returned to the Gumatj Corporation.
The furniture studio is now a thriving part of the Gumatj economy.
Continuing to build on the relationships formed in 2010, Damien has employed Yolngu men in his Northcote studio.