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their objections to the extension of the mine into the area of the Juukan Shelters for several years, but owing to an outdated WA Government permit system that allows for no objections once a mining permit is issued, and an unequal and paternalistic mining rights negotiation process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.

Talk tomorrow night!

Team Connexions will be at the JMGA-WA meeting in Perth tomorrow night as the feature speakers for the group’s October meeting. If you’re about you can come chat it up with us as we wander through our process of organising-funding-making-filming the Connexions exhibition, which is currently on show in Paris.*

For those of you unable to get there, picture seeing your little exhibition being awarded close to 30K in funding to send your whole beautiful artist cohort to an opening literally across the globe. Then add one pandemic…

A/US 01, 2020
Found steel objects, vitreous enamel, stainless steel. Melissa Cameron.
Photo: Rob Frith

*our run has been extended at Galerie Asemblages, 66 rue Legendre, 75017 Paris, France until October 31st.

Connexions officially open!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGSV3TmnGIt/

After a hiccup and a delayed start, we opened our window display in Paris overnight on October the 13th. So you can finally see the (admittedly abbreviated) Connexions in the real! We’re at Galerie Assemblages as a part of the Parcours Bijoux jewellery festival:

66 rue Legendre, 75017 Paris, France

Exhibition dates are being extended so we can keep our 3 week engagement, so likely closing around November 7th.

Hours: We’re a window display open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The original COVID-19 friendly way to see a show! And because we’re clustered in a window there’s a few works we couldn’t fit (ok, more like 3/4 of the show) so please peruse those works at your leisure on our website.

Connexions live online!

Connexions website – short film lineup

Today we’re celebrating the launch of the Connexions exhibition website! While you’re there be sure to check out the short films of each exhibiting artist by our mate Brendan Hutchens of Vam Media, with filming assistance from Kantesha Takai of Lola Digital for Emily on Horn Island.

Connexions showcases new contemporary jewellery works by Australian artists Emily Beckley, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Melissa Cameron, Blandine Hallé, Eden Lennox and Sultana Shamshi.

And don’t forget this Saturday is our artists’ talk; click on the link that says Link to Zoom Meeting on this page. It’s on at 11am– Sat October 10th, Paris time, or at:

2 a.m.: Seattle
10:00 a.m.: UK
11 a.m.: Paris
1:30 p.m.: Iran
2:30 p.m.: India
5 p.m.: Perth
7 p.m.: Horn Island
8 p.m.: Sydney
10 p.m.: New Zealand

Hope to see y’all there!

PS.

We are proud to be supported by The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in Western Australia and the Australia Council for the Arts.

Danaca Design – STATEmeant jewellery

A call-for-entry for the jewellers of the world with something to say.

For all y’all who saw the Ring Smackdown on the Danaca Design Instagram feed earlier this year, you can phase out for a minute. You need no introduction to the exhibition concept that I’m about to try and explain. You can just head to Dana’s gallery site and enter your statement piece and wait for your jewel to hit the Instagram feed and have it reign supreme or be bundled out of the competition in early voting. It’s democracy – no shame in losing as there’s lots of amazing artists out there with lots to say and time to spend sayin’ it right now.

For those who that last paragraph was a bit of a head-shaker, here I go…

1/ you enter your jewellery work appropriate to the theme* into the show by October 5th, Pacific time, with a retail price under $1600 USD and nominating a charity to receive 1/2 the sales price when you sell the piece

2/ get through jurying by the esteemed Keith Lewis and Nancy Megan Corwin (love both of them, great makers, teachers and humans)

3/ watch your piece come up against a reasonably matched piece on Instagram, then convince the internet to vote for it

4/ repeat as your piece goes through different rounds and ends up in the quarter finals, the semis and then THE FINALS!

5/ Win a democratic election backing a candidate that intrinsically means something to you! And/or sell the work, benefit a great cause, get a little cash in your pocket and send the piece off to its new home 😉

Hope that makes sense? Probably best you read everything here anyway.

*STATE│meant is an opportunity for you to speak out on challenging subjects that are significant to you, with a powerful piece of statement jewelry. Two jurors will select a minimum of 30 pieces, in six categories: brooches, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and headpieces. The selected work is to be sold in our online gallery in support of the non-profit group of the artists’ choosing. Starting in mid-October, each piece will compete on Instagram for best in category and ultimately best in show. The competition will be by popular vote and with the winner announced November 4, 2020. No electoral college here… These are unprecedented times…got something to say about it? Now is your chance!

Connexions is coming

Melissa Cameron, Emily Beckley, Eden Lennox, Sultana Shamshi, Fatemeh Bourejeni, Blandine Hallé, photos by Rob Frith – names listed clockwise from top left.

Connexions showcases new contemporary jewellery works by Australian artists Emily Beckley, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Melissa Cameron, Blandine Hallé, Eden Lennox and Sultana Shamshi. It debuts at the Parcours Bijoux International Triennial in October 2020 at Galerie Assemblages in Paris, France, then travels to the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial in Perth, Australia, in 2021.

Exhibition dates: 6 – 25 October 2020

Hours: Window display open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Galerie Assemblages, 66 rue Legendre, 75017 Paris, France

See the expanded exhibition online www.connexions-exhibition.com from the 6th of October (we have a lot of content in development, since we couldn’t use our grants from the DLGSC and Australia Council as they were intended – to travel to France for the opening) and more via the Connexions Instagram page, where we’re sharing nuggets like this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFY55gHHcMb/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

And finally, please put the date of our Zoom Artist Talk in the diary: 11am– Sat October 10th, Paris time, or at:

2 a.m.: Seattle
10:00 a.m.: UK
11 a.m.: Paris
1:30 p.m.: Iran
2:30 p.m.: India
5 p.m.: Perth
7 p.m.: Horn Island
8 p.m.: Sydney
10 p.m.: New Zealand

Looking forward to see y’all there!

The Big Dry

We’re in it, here in Perth, though today I’m ready to rename it ‘the big hayfever’. The UV index says extreme, so it’s sunny all right, (though thankfully we’re back down to 20’s from the 40’s of last week) but the air – or more specifically the pollen and other particles in it – are really what’s doing my head in.

I have such empathy for the parts of this country who are smoke-haze clouded today, I know it could be seriously worse out there because it is in many places right now. I hope it’s ok where you are.

Bilk Gallery, 23 November – 24 December 2019

12 Palmerston Lane, Manuka, ACT 2603   Phone +61 (0) 2 61622761  

Hours Wed-Fri 11-5  Sat 11-4

I love working with Bilk and I think it has an effect on the works I make for them. They are an inspiring and inspired bunch, as evidenced by their recent Canberra Critics Circle win for their exhibition Transfer.

🙈

In honour of present-fest 2019 I have made some new jewellery AND I have sent over to the other side of the country some jewellery I made last year that had not been exhibited in Australia before. So industrious!

1/ Bridget Kennedy Project Space

Let me start with the second part first – Bridget Kennedy has come to the conclusion that for the experience-based and consume-less economy there should be an Art-Jewellery bank. Thus the work below – looking fiiiine on a sister of mine – is available at three, yes 3, price points from her gallery this season. A one-week rental, a 4-week rental, and an own-outright price. And if you rent and decide you can’t part with it, the price you have already paid will count against what’s left. Genius!

This is a very short summary of course, and Bridget explains the bigger philosophy around her grand idea here. And you should know that the artists’ ‘bankable’ pieces are supported by other matching works. If this neckpiece is on the large size for you there’s matching pins, earrings and pendants that will also be on display, all for immediate sale.

what she thinking? Bridget, what a great idea!

The opening for Bridget’s of year celebrations Little Forest by Anna Vlahos (another Perth girl out in the world and a personal fave of mine) and The Art Jewellery Bank is Thursday 28th November 5-8pm and is an RSVP event. Get along then or before the 23rd of December to:

53 Ridge Street,
North Sydney
NSW 2060
11 – 5pm Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday
10 – 6pm Friday

2/ And then there’s Bilk!

Please join us Saturday 23 November for our end of year exhibition, The Big Dry.

Featuring new work by Linda Hughes, Kath Inglis, Chris Bahng, Zoe Brand, Claire McArdle, Vicki Mason, Larah Nott, Thomas O’Hara, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Mio Kuhnen, Marian Hosking, Jane Reilly, Melissa Cameron, Eugenie Keefer Bell, Sean O’Connell and many more.

In previous years Bilk has celebrated the end of year with White Christmas.  This year we asked Artists to think of pressing issues which are affecting the wider community and Australia – the environment, water, biodiversity, wind and drought. ​Even with the harshest of environments and extremes in climates, there is still a beauty that can be seen through the heat, dust, cracking soils and the transforming colours water can bring.

Exhibition dates 23 November – 24 December 2019

12 Palmerston Lane, Manuka, ACT 2603   Phone +61 (0) 2 61622761  

Hours Wed-Fri 11-5  Sat 11-4