IOTA21

The Indian Ocean Triennial Australia 2021 is coming! I must’ve mentioned it a bit, in passing at least, as my new work Juukan Tears will debut as a part of the festival when it opens in September.

But what is it?

Well, it’s a presentation of new works from a curated selection of artists from all over the Indian Ocean region. To show these works the Indian Ocean Triennial Australia curatorial team has collaborated with two major WA galleries; the Fremantle Arts Centre and the John Curtin Gallery.

And it’s also a huge series of satellite events (which includes the Aussie debut of the Connexions exhibition), and a massive opening weekend and a conference.

Shall we cut to an audio-visual for all-round better explanation?

IOTA21 Artist & Program Launch from IOTA21 on Vimeo.

BTW, if you’re missing my dulcet tones in your ear, stay at least until 45 seconds in, and if you want those sonorous tones (big irony here team, I’m even more high-pitched than usual, shall we say I was attempting to be heard over the waves..?) accompanied by my visage – and hands – (I’m talking with them of course!) stick with it for at least 1 minute!

still from the IOTA21 launch film – my don’t those jewels look familiar?
(lets not even mention the shoes!)

To stay up-to-date with the artists involved and the timetable of events you gotta see the IOTA21 website. And start making your plans to see world-class art all around Perth in September.

Bilk: The Perfect Brooch

back of Powder Case I – 2011

Opening weekend on the Saturday 3-4 July 2021 11.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Aurélie Guillaume, Bin Dixon-Ward, Brenda Ridgewell, Carlier Makigawa, Claire McArdle, Cinnamon Lee, Chris Bahng, Daniel DiCaprio, David Walker, Eugenie Keefer Bell, Fumiki Taguchi, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Johannes Kuhnen, Julie Blyfield, Kath Inglis, Larah Nott, Marian Hosking, Mio Kuhnen, Melissa Cameron, Nicholas Bastin, Sean O’Connell, Su san Cohn, Takashi Kojima, Taweesak Molsawat and Vicki Mason.

What, for a jeweller, would constitute the perfect brooch? Gallery Bilk has invited twenty-five contemporary jewellers from around the world to respond to this question and they have risen to the challenge in a myriad of surprising and enchanting ways that will be showcased in The Perfect Brooch exhibition, which opens at Gallery Bilk on Saturday 3 July.

Conceptual adventures, technical skill, new directions and the exploration of jewellery’s capacity to express sentimental connections all find a place in the show.  Amongst the many works to be seen, the exhibition will feature a romantic brooch showcasing a single diamond and a secret only visible to its wearer; a complex enamelled jewel that pays homage to the ephemeral treasures we collect in our everyday lives; a bouquet of plants that tell the story of the relationship between the maker and her late partner and a brooch that features a dazzling collection of semi-precious stones balanced precariously in a bravura exercise of technical skill. In an innovative collaboration that provides an encapsulation of the exhibition’s proposition, two artists will deploy artificial intelligence technology to synthesise images of all the works in the exhibition to create an ultimate “perfect brooch”. ​

Gallery Hours: The exhibition will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11.00 am to 5.00 pm or by appointment until the Saturday 7 August 2021.

Bilk Gallery – 403 Captians Flat Road Carwoola – (02) 6232 9411

text from Bilk Gallery

the saga of the two tire/tyre rings

If you’d like the opportunity to choose the outcome of the tale of the rings (in typing that I just realised I’ve made a mmp ‘choose your own adventure’ game!) please get in touch. You can comment below, reply by email – or go to my instagram and click on the relevant poll toggles in my stories.

The questions are:

  • to enamel or not to enamel – the ring wants to know
  • should there be 2 rings (should I replace the fabled Seattle ring, aka, ring no.1?)

And the Bilk Brooch Show invite I hyped up in my last post is next, I promise!

The Neck – Craft ACT

Hiya team. Apologies for that last cryptic post – with bonus secret password window – on the main blog stream. I feel like a right fool but now the url is attached to an application I can’t change it until adjudication finishes. If it’s any consolation most of the content was taken from last year’s Everything Must Go, with images taken from yet another post to bulk it out.

And to placate my own ego let me mention that I had managed to add an entire new section to the Works/CV page a little while ago without anyone noticing 😉 That was in lieu of smartening up my website (I’ve given up promising a date for that; soon, just soon) for another application. In that case I was not successful (asking a mining company for funds to protest another mining company was probably seen more as trolling than as a unique artistic concept) but at least the work I did is useful longer-term as an introduction to my current practice.

If you’re new around these parts why not check it out.

And in other news, a recent Craft ACT emailer used my image to promote The Neck, a show I have a work in at the moment. I’ll post their text in full below. I’ll soon be in another show just outside Canberra, thanks to Bilk. More news on that soon.

/ / /

resilience, 2016. flattened firearm, steel chain. melissa cameron.

The Neck //

Buy the works / Catalogue / Video tourArtist biographies + statements / EssayPhoto gallery

Vivien Atkinson | Roseanne Bartley | Macarena Bernal | Vernon Bowden | Zoe Brand | Melissa Cameron | Anna Davern |  Pennie Jagiello | Cara Johnson | Bridget Kennedy | Claire McArdle | Melinda Young

Curator Bridget Kennedy 

The neck, often seen as a sensual part of the body, a site of vulnerability, is also a site of strength, supporting the heavy head, a conduit to our heart and lungs, providing life giving oxygen to our bodies, and nourishment through the ingestion of food. At a time when our planet and humanity seems to be suffocating on many fronts, strangled by powerful, self serving ‘leaders’, Bridget Kennedy invites selected artists to explore the neck as a vehicle for political, social, and environmental critique.

Vivien Atkinson is represented by Avid Gallery, Wellington. Melissa Cameron is represented by Bilk Gallery, Canberra.

The Neck / / Craft ACT

I’m in The Neck, a group show in Canberra, thanks to Bridget Kennedy of the eponymous Project Space in Sydney. It was meant to be last year, timed to coincide with the JMGA conference. In fact, it looks as though this whole programme was. Go see it if you can; there’s a lot of talent (and my friends!) in this room.

text below courtesy Craft ACT

You’re invited // Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre warmly invites you to join us for the opening of:

Making: A Way of Life
Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer

Small Connections
Danielle Barrie, Daria Fox, Emma Cuppleditch, Erin Daniell, Gretal Ferguson, Kath Inglis, Katherine Grocott, Polly Dymond, Sarra Tzijan and Zoe Grigoris

Body Layer; Semblance and Self
Zoe Brand, Roseanne Bartley, Liesbet Bussche, Jing He, Cara Johnson, Lauren Kalman, Matt Lambert, Claire McArdle, Kristina Neumann, Tiffany Parbs and Halie Rubenis. Curator: Simon Cottrell

and

The Neck
Vivien Atkinson, Roseanne Bartley, Macarena Bernal, Vernon Bowden, Zoe Brand, Melissa Cameron, Anna Davern, Pennie Jagiello, Cara Johnson, Bridget Kennedy, Claire McArdle and Melinda Young. Curator: Bridget Kennedy

To be opened by: Tara Cheyne MLA, ACT Minister for the Arts, with guest speaker Oliver Smith, respected silversmith and senior lecturer at University of Sydney

Opening –
Thursday 27 May. Exhibitions will continue until 17 July.

Craft ACT’s gallery, exhibitions and shop are open five days a week.
Tuesday-Friday from 10am-5pm
+
Saturday 12pm-4pm
Level 1 North Building 180 London Circuit Canberra ACT 2601

If you are in the area, look out for the artist talk too:

Friday 28 May, 12-12.45pm
at Craft ACT gallery
Free, bookings essential

Minnawarra Art Awards

With all the lockdown and limited-capacity art openings I totally forgot to mention (because I couldn’t go see it launched) that I’m in the Minnawarra Art Awards in Armadale! Shout out to my City of Armadale dwelling and working familiars! (Y’all know who you are.)

The winners have all been announced already – and it’s a who’s who of WA talent, my I assure you, with the incredible Abdul-Rahman Abdullah taking out top honours with a beautiful piece and Rohin Kickett winning the Aboriginal artist award. Check the link, there were more well-earned gongs awarded by the judges.

And check the show, if you can (obviously WA residents only, you’ll not get through quarantine in time from most other places) and if you’re heading over this Wednesday morning, look out for me!

Sunday, 9 May 2021 to Monday, 24 May 2021 – 11am to 4pm

Armadale District Hall
90 Jull Street
Armadale, WA 6112

Live stream q + a soon!

Juukan Tears – wip, 2021

Today! 3 May 10:30 am Perth time or in your zone at:
Auckland – 2:30 pm
New York – 10:30 pm*
Sydney -12:30 pm
Calgary – 8:30 pm*
Los Angeles – 7:30 pm*
/ / /
I’ll be chatting about my work in a live q+a on my YouTube channel*at this live link*
It will remain available to re-stream indefinitely.
Email your queries now, or pop them in the live-chat window as we go.

*Sunday 2nd May

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.