Juukan Caves Anniversary / Virtual Indigenous Film Fest 2021

Yesterday marks 1 year since the destruction of the Juukan Shelters, a traditional site of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinnikura (PKKP) peoples located in the Pilbara area in the northwest of Western Australia.

If you’ve been following this blog for the last few months you’ll know that I have made the facts of that event; the amount of time that the PKKP peoples had accessed and used the shelters – 46,000 years; the number of holes drilled into the shelters before the PKKP peoples were told of its impending blast – 382; and the reason they were destroyed – for more iron ore; into a large installation made from predominantly recycled steel.

I remember that the shock of finding out about this destruction was all the more galling because it came at the beginning of last year’s Reconciliation Week. This time last year, during the Indigenous Film Festival, I stayed on to see several Q+A’s for just-screened films. I watched as multiple hosts had to engage not only with the content of the films that they were charged with speaking about (generally involving weighty cross-cultural issues themselves), but also the Juukan destruction, as it filtered through the collective consciousness in the week following its detonation. The shock and sadness was all-pervading, and so it made its way into many of the question and answer sessions during the festival.

Watching it unfold in the media against this backdrop was heart-sinking, as here was a fresh way that government and corporate interests in Australia had failed our First Nations community. At the time it was a particularly unwanted extra burden, following as it did a bushfire season that had threatened and then razed so much of the east coast, and during a lockdown for a pandemic that many feared would be particularly serious for First Nations communities here, as many face poorer health outcomes than the general population.

It was immediately protested, and it would become an important fuel for us masked marchers at the Black Lives Matter rallies held here in Perth over last winter. And for me. It was and remains an important fuel for my practice, too.

And having mentioned the Indigenous Film Festival:

[text below from the IFF newsletter of this morning]

There is only 3 days left to secure your spot at the Virtual Indigenous Film Festival for Reconciliation Week 2021! Celebrating a collection of award-winning Indigenous stories, followed by Q&As with special guest speakers including film makers, community leaders and cultural academics. Join us in celebration this Reconciliation Week from 27th-31st May for a week of inspiring stories and inclusive, actionable discussion. 

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. This year’s theme, #MoreThanAWord reminds us to always be working towards braver and more impactful action so take that action and join this years Virtual Indigenous Film Festival.

Grab an All Access Pass for 50% off all 6 films OR if you are interested in just one film, grab an individual ticket!

fanforcetv.com

and just quietly, I have to acknowledge my financial supporter for the Juukan Tears project:

Thanks to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in Western Australia for their financial support of this project

Makers’ Film Festival

I have two short films about recent work in this festival. I know, what am I like?!? Lets hope they get played back-to-back so we can really compare how I aged over the 20 months between their filming…

And yes, my tickets are booked! Come along!

(Teaser and text below courtesy the amazing Maker&Smith website)

An impressive program of 24 short films to pump your beating heart for craft.

A new short film festival all about craft and making, presented by Maker&Smith.

This new collection of films focuses on how we employ the dexterity of our hands to create functional objects, art and to tell the stories of our lives.

Premiere

Sunday 23 May 2021, 3.30-6.30pm
Midland Junction Arts Centre
$35pp

The selection of films encompasses a broad range of craft, design and making disciplines presented in mini documentaries, story-led artist profiles to ingenious animations and music video.

Selected from near and far, the films spotlight the everyday habits and skills of ‘makers and smiths’, they reveal what drives enduring professional practice, and illustrate a diversity in film-making creativity as much as the traditional and contemporary craft approaches.

Disciplines and techniques include:
Basketry, Ceramic Art + Pottery, Costume Design + Making, Fibre Art, Glassmaking, Jewellery + Metalsmithing, Pearl Carving, Puppet Making, Screen + Block Printing, Sound Design + Making, Stop Motion Animation, Textiles, Weaving, and Zoetropes.

Screened in two sessions with an interval, the whole program lasts three hours.

Tickets include interval refreshments.

BOOK your tickets NOW. (unreserved seating)

getting close…

me about to fix the camera with documentary film-maker Mir Ng in the background

Have you been checking in to the livestream? I know I have a dedicated fan or two (thank you for watching, sorry about all the noise..!) who look in, so I wanted to let y’all know that we’re getting close to the end. There’s about a week left of regular manufacturing before we switch to fine-tuning, then peeling off the back decals and some photography.

That will all take place in the studio (under your watchful gaze) as I have nowhere else big enough to take the full piece! And yes, Susannah and I have discussed hanging it off the balcony as a test, but ruled it out as we’re worried about the window below.

But for the real tension, stay tuned for the episode where we have to get the complete 4m x 1.3 m hanging out of the building. That’s when the balcony, plastic tarp and ropes come in! Then we have to motor it over to the John Curtin Gallery; that’s going to be quite an event!

We’re still a little way off moving it – I’m yet to source an enclosed truck – as my deadline is August. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to give you a heads up 😉

.. and we’re back

for a couple of days at least..!

Susannah and I will be streaming live from the studio today and tomorrow before we take another quick break this Wednesday to Friday. We will be back to our regular scheduled programming next week; Monday- Friday, 9am – 5pm (or thereabouts) Perth time, with the usual lunch hiatus.

If you get in early enough this morning you’ll se me hit 3,500 linked teardrops (only 1,600 more to go!) You might also get to see Susannah and I share what we got up to on our 4-day hiatus – in my case some very non-canonical jewellery remodeling as part of a commission, and restocking some bracelets. Always good to have a bracelet or two on hand (see what I did there!?!)

Which reminds me! I finally got my copy of the new Nicolas Estrada-edited jewellery look-book New Bracelets. (The Nile link – currently cheapest available in Australia, check shipping tho.) As usual he’s done a great job, and I have a couple of works in there, including some of those pinhole riveted bracelets that I have just restocked, which I do in a plain steel finish (as per the book) as well as a sandblasted texture finish that is heat coloured to a deep purple brown. Check it out on Instagram – I’ll pop up a pic of the latest batch today.

If you’re after the other style in there – the multilayered bracelet joined with my signature tensioned steel cable – you should head over to Tereza Seabra gallery in Lisbon, she currently has the finest collection of them in all the lands!

Juukan Tears

wip, February 2021

In May of 2020 mining company Rio Tinto destroyed the Juukan Shelters, containing sacred caves that had been in use by the traditional custodians of that part of (what we now call) Western Australia, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) peoples, for over 46,000 years. The Shelters were in the remote Pilbara region of WA, and were located within the Brockman 4 mine, one among Rio Tinto’s 16 iron ore mines in the region. The PKKP had registered their objections to the extension of the mine into the area of the Juukan Shelters for several years, but owing to an outdated WA Government permit system that allows for no objections once a mining permit is issued, and an unequal and paternalistic mining rights negotiation process that effectively gags First Nation recipients of mining money, their cries went unheeded.

Since then the blast has received significant public outcry and media attention in Australia and been subject to a government inquiry, not least because recent archaeological excavations had found ancient human hair, proving continual human use of the shelters for 46,000 years.

Western Australia is home to Rio Tinto Iron Ore, and its capital, Perth, the city where I live, boasts the Rio Tinto office tower (also known as Central Park) as its tallest building. In a relatively small and topographically flat city it is visible from many kilometers away, including from my house – and my studio space – in North Perth.

My response to the shameful destruction of sacred sites and continued silencing of our First Nations people, (not to mention the over representation of environmental abusers like Rio Tinto in the skyline of Perth), is this work, with the working title Juukan Tears. It is a piece in two sections, the largest a wall hanging approximately 4m (13′) tall by 1.3m (4.3′) wide, the second section being a group 46 chains that are each approximately 1.8m long. It is made out of recycled custom orb, a common fencing and building material made from galvinised steel, which was previously the siding and roofing material of my back shed. (Image at this post.)

The first and larger part of the work contains a rendering of the Rio Tinto headquarters in Perth, with line-work “drawn” in different amalgamations of teardrop shapes. The second piece makes use of the 4,600 teardrop shapes, representing 10% of the 46,000 years of history lost when the Juukan Shelters were destroyed last May, to make chains of tears. Groups of 100 teardrops are joined to make 46 chains that will be hung next to the drawing, which combined makes approximately 80m (260′) of chain.

The drawing, or wall hanging, is itself also cut into 382 rectangular forms, to represent all of the holes drilled into the Juukan Shelters on the Brockman 4 mine site before the “Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Traditional Owners were made aware of the planned blast on May 15.” Within the background, using length and order of these 382 pieces, is depicted a message in a modified version of Morse Code. When decoded it reads: “46,000 year old Juukan shelters destroyed for…iron ore”

As mentioned previously, this work will debut at the John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University for the Indian Ocean Triennial Australia – IOTA21 – in September 2021.

I am grateful to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in Western Australia for their financial support of this project, and to the IOTA and John Curtin Gallery curatorial teams for their support of this work and my greater practice.

Do you like to watch?

before – the source of the steel for this project

If your answer to the above question is yes, come join me in my studio for the next six or so months. In this link (click on the Live Stream link – if it’s there, I’m in the studio) you can see live footage of me as I work on hand sawing a piece from a few 3m x 82cm sheets of custom orb steel.

I am now live-streaming on weekdays from my studio, as I work on my largest work to date, thanks to my partner and wildly overqualified technical assistant Bruce Cooper (previously credited here as TurboNerd), and my funding partner, the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries in Western Australia. The finished work is destined for exhibition at the John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University as a part of IOTA21: the first Indian Ocean Craft Triennial, opening September 2021.

So if you’re tired of all the usual options:
a/ you have no need of boiled water
b/ your grass is in hibernation
c/ you can’t possibly bear witness to any more paint drying…
come take a peek into my studio. And if you’re not in the mood now, don’t worry, this one will take some time (that’s kinda the point) so feel free to check in later.

Master Class Workshop – Liquid Enamel for Steel and Copper with visiting artist Melissa Cameron.

fuckthispresidentandtheregimeherodeinon 2017. Stainless steel, titanium, vitreous enamel

14 – 15 September 2019

In her practice Melissa Cameron has perfected the application of liquid enamel onto small objects. It’s a unique enamelling method, well suited to both flat and dimensional forms, with coating found objects like wire and tiny laser-cut parts being Melissa’s specialties.

In this workshop with the artist, learn her tips and tricks for using liquid enamel on steel and copper, from metal surface preparation to enamel mixing, application, and firing. Extend your decorative palette with textures and patterns using simple techniques, well suited for use on items of jewellery and small objects.

This masterclass is being held in conjunction with Melissa Cameron’s solo exhibition at Bilk Gallery opening on Friday the 13 September 2019, 6pm – 8pm.

Workshop details
Time: 9.30 am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 14 – 15 September.
Location: Workshop Bilk, 403 Captians Flat Road Carwoola Queanbeyan NSW Australia. Attendees will need to bring their own lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.
Materials: All materials and tools will be supplied.
Cost: $450 per person for the two days. Maximum of six places available.

Exhibitions and events!

object 1, object 2. steel from a shipping container, vitreous enamel. 2018

1/ With Other Eyes:

See Contain, a brand new series of works I produced for this exhibition, the last works to come from my Seattle studio.

With Other Eyes

29 September – 18 November 2018

Stephen Bottomley, Melissa Cameron, Helen Carnac, David Gates, Beate Gegenwart, Kiko Gianocca, Margit Hart, Rebecca Hannon, Kirsten Haydon, Mari Ishikawa, Kaori Juzu, Fritz Maierhofer, Ruudt Peters, Ramon Puig Cuyàs, Isabell Schaupp, Bettina Speckner, Gabi Veit, Silvia Walz, Gudrun Wiesmann, Tamar De Vries Winter

Enamel and Photography


‘Photography has changed, expanded and even deluded our perceptions. It is a vessel of memory, yet also a corrective instrument thereof.

Ruthin Craft Centre
The Centre for the Applied Arts
Park Road, Ruthin
Denbighshire, Wales

2/ Symposium

Come join me at The Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium, presented by the Seattle Metals Guild:

This year’s dynamic speaker line-up includes European jewelry artist Terhi Tolvanen, metalsmith/sculptor David H. Clemons, jeweler/enamelist Deborah Lozier, and repoussé master Douglas Pryor; plus Ideation: From the Belly to the Brain, a panel discussion featuring artists Melissa CameronEva Funderburgh, and Gina Pankowski.

The Symposium will be in Seattle this year, rather than in Tacoma as originally planned. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to make a last-minute change, so this year we will be at the Langston-Hughes Performing Arts Institute, with everything the Symposium has to offer: Silent Auction, Book Sale, and a fabulous line up of speakers and panelists, detailed above.

Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018
Location: Langston-Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Seattle, WA

It’s the day before I leave the USA permanently for Perth, Australia, so come say goodbye and join us at the after-party to end all after-parties!

3/ Uneasy Beauty

See my works Drone: Attempts to Kill… and RPG in this exhibition at The Fuller Craft Museum in MA, curated by Suzanne Ramljak the former editor of Metalsmith Magazine.

Uneasy Beauty: Discomfort in Contemporary Adornment will bring together 75 examples of contemporary jewelry and costume that demonstrate the immense power of adornment to impact us physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Showcasing wearable work in various media from regional and national artists, the exhibition will explore the outer limits of comfort through works that constrict body movement, irritate the skin, make extreme demands, or touch upon sensitive cultural nerves. Uneasy Beauty is part of the Mass Fashion collaborative, a consortium of eight cultural institutions that aim to explore and celebrate the many facets of the Bay State’s culture of fashion. This exhibition is curated by Suzanne Ramljak, an art historian, writer, curator, and former editor of Metalsmith magazine.

October 6, 2018 – April 21, 2019
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA 02301

Monday – Gun Day

1.1.2017

55 places. 62 incidents. 66 guns. 73 people

It’s take one month of drawing, drilling, sawing and slicing to make a portrait of each of the 66 guns used in fatal incidents on January 1st, 2017. These gun outlines are made in metal, plastic, fabric and paper, from containers sourced from the 55 places in which these acts of violence occurred.

Now we are seeking 73 people to wear the outlines, small and large, while we take an image to help tell the story.

Please come and stand in for the people we lost to these guns on that day.

Register here

More info here