Welcome 2022

In the hot sandwich press filled with bread, beans and leaking cheese at all sides (which is slowly gathering in puddles on the bench below) that was the last weeks of 2021, I missed adding my usual solsticefest post to the chimes of the season.

So now I belatedly say thank you for reading, and I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful longest/shortest day/night. My wish this year is that the poetic will find you with increasing frequency, wherever you may be.

And speaking of poetry, my rock from Perth artist Carla Adams arrived today. Look at it shine.

Carla Adams – Maureen Rock – 2021

Arthan Gallery in Istanbul

From Co+Lab, Declaration of Sentiments finally opens in Istanbul!

We are pleased to invite you to the exhibition of Declaration of Sentiments. Curated by CoplusLab, Snem Yildirim, Burcu Sülek, Nevin Arig and supervised by Can Akgumus the exhibition will take place at Arthan Gallery in Istanbul between
16 – 31 December!
Opening Thursday 16 December, 2 – 8 PM.

Focusing on women’s struggle, the exhibition brings together twenty international female artists, and deals with jewellery not only as an ornamental object but as a conceptual art piece. Showing for the first time in Turkey, the exhibition is in a sense taking part in international solidarity with the developments related to the Istanbul Convention, which is followed closely by the participating artists.

Artists:
Nevin Arig, Erica Bello, Sofia Björkman, Klara Brynge, Jessica Calderwood, Melissa Cameron, Cata Gilbert, Gesine Hackenberg, Ya Jie Hu, Mari Ishikawa, Helena Lethi, Anna Lewis, Eija Mustonen, Sondra Sherman, Burcu Sülek, Niki Stylianou, Fatima Tocornal Garcia, Tarja Tuupanen, Eva Van Kempen, Snem Yildirim.

/ / /

Küratörlüğünü ( Sinem Yıldırım, Burcu Sülek, Nevin Arığ) nın, danışmanlığını Can Akgümüş’ ün yaptığı “Duygular Bildirisi” sergisi 16-31 Aralık tarihleri arasında Arthan Galeride görülebilir.

Açılış 16 Aralık 2021
Saat 14 – 20 arası.

Sergi kadın mücadelesini odağa alarak uluslararası yirmi kadın sanatçıyı biraraya getirirken takıyı salt bir süs nesnesi olarak değil kavramsal bir sanat nesnesi olarak ele alıyor. Türkiye’de izleyicilerle ilk defa buluşacak olan sergi katılımcı sanatçıların yakından takip ettiği İstanbul Sözleşmesi ile ilgili gelişmelere bir anlamda uluslararası dayanışmada yer aliyor.

Sanatçılar:
Nevin Arig, Erica Bello, Sofia Björkman, Klara Brynge, Jessica Calderwood, Melissa Cameron, Cata Gilbert, Gesine Hackenberg, Ya Jie Hu, Mari Ishikawa, Helena Lethi, Anna Lewis, Eija Mustonen, Sondra Sherman, Burcu Sülek, Niki Stylianou, Fatima Tocornal Garcia, Tarja Tuupanen, Eva Van Kempen, Snem Yildirim.

Arthan Gallery
Arap Cami Mah. Kürekçiler Kapısı Sk, No:47/7  Kurşunlu Han,
Karaköy, Beyoğlu, İstanbul


21st C Caltrop #4. Non-stick baking pan, stainless steel. 2020.

farewell studio (for now) sale

Dear Friends,

For those not in the know, the current configuration of my studio is soon to be disassembled and rebuilt. A new studio, part of our new and more sustainable home, will take its place over the coming year or so.

If you have ever wanted to come up and see it for yourself (in better resolution than what was on the studio livestream earlier this year) now is your last opportunity!

And of course I’ll also have a range of my works on display 😉

Join me in December on:

Friday the 10th, 11am – 5pm
Saturday the 11th, 11am – 5pm – also our Christmas celebration with bubbles and nibbles!
Friday the 17th, 11am – 5pm
Saturday the 18th, 11am – 5pm

and other times between these by appointment.

Please feel free to pass on this invitation to friends and loved ones. I look forward to seeing you soon.

x Melissa

(please email for the address, fellow Perthlings)

Juukan Tears – last days to see!

a 2-min snapshot of making Juukan Tears

There is but a few short days left to see my work Juukan Tears at the John Curtin Gallery as a part of IOTA21 in Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday. If you’re not gonna make it (who even travels any more? I can’t – really, I’m in WA and state daddy says no…) I thought I’d show you what people who visit the gallery get to see on a big screen in the video rotation.

If you haven’t seen it but were planning to, the gallery is open today until Friday, and again for the last time on Sunday 31/10/21.

Connexions closes tomorrow

Connexions opening – l to r
Blandine Halle, Melissa Cameron, Katherine Kalaf, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Eden Lennox, Sultana Shamshi.
Missing but hopefully soon to visit – Emily Beckley. Image – Courtenay Cameron

Connexions is in its last days – today it’s open 11am – 4:30pm and then it opens for the last time tomorrow from 12 -2:30pm.

We will always have the website, and I will update that with images from the installation soon, but in the mean time, if you can, stop by the gallery, grab a catalogue (lovingly folded for you by our team of artists!) and see all the new works that were made for this iteration of our exhibition.

Big thanks to Katherine Kalaf, as seen pictured above, for elevating our opening with her presence.

Thank you again to everyone who has visited and purchased works, we appreciate all of your support. In such strange times we are grateful, very grateful, to have your feet grace our doorstep.

Connexions in Perth!

The Connexions artist team are proud to invite you to their exhibition, to be opened by Katherine Kalaf on Thursday the 30th of September 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at Gallery Central, 12 Aberdeen St, Perth.


Connexions is honoured to be a festival event of the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial – IOTA21 and features works by jewellery artists Emily Beckley, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Melissa Cameron, Blandine Halle, Eden Lennox, and Sultana Shamshi.


Gallery hours: Monday – Friday: 11am – 4.30pm & Saturday: 12pm – 2:30pm
Artist Talk: Saturday 2 October 12pm

More details in the invitation images above. Please remember to RSVP to the opening: gallery@nmtafe.wa.edu.au and of course please invite your friends!

Looking forward to sharing a drink and a chat at the opening!

Article in Art Guide

Art Guide Australia has an article about the IOTA21 festival online now, and Juukan Tears gets a named checked and an image. Thank you Sheridan Hart for the chat and the mention. There’s other media out there, Art Monthly Australasia and of course the IOTA21 catalogue if you’re keen for more to read about the two main IOTA exhibitions and my work.

Juukan Tears, 2021
Recycled galvanised corrugated steel (from the artist’s back shed), chromed steel chain
2.6m x 4m x 5cm
Photographer: Melissa Cameron

Juukan Tears is up!

Juukan Tears has been launched for nearly a week now, so here’s a few images of the work for those far away and curious.

Juukan Tears, 2021
Recycled galvanised corrugated steel (from the artist’s back shed), chromed steel chain
2.6m x 4m x 5cm
Photographer: Melissa Cameron

Juukan Tears, 2021 (tears detail)
Recycled galvanised corrugated steel (from the artist’s back shed), chromed steel chain
2.6m x 4m x 5cm
Photographer: Melissa Cameron

Juukan Tears, 2021 (detail)
Recycled galvanised corrugated steel (from the artist’s back shed), chromed steel chain
2.6m x 4m x 5cm
Photographer: Melissa Cameron

Juukan Tears, 2021 (left panel detail)
Recycled galvanised corrugated steel (from the artist’s back shed), chromed steel chain
2.6m x 4m x 5cm
Photographer: Melissa Cameron

Juukan Tears

In May of 2020 mining company Rio Tinto destroyed a site which contained the Juukan Shelters, a place that had been in use by the First Nations traditional custodians of that land, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) peoples, for over 46,000 years.

Located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (WA), the Shelters were on land leased by Rio Tinto for the Brockman 4 mine, one of their 16 in the area. Approval to mine was granted in 2013, under WA’s Section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage act of 1972, which is currently under review. In 2014 an archaeological survey of the site found 4,000-year-old human hair, as well as proof of continuous use of the site dating back 46,000 years.

The site was considered in the “top five”[1] most significant sites in the Pilbara by archaeologist Dr Heather Builth. Archaeologist Dr Michael Slack, author of multiple reports on the shelters in 2008 and 2014, and the team leader of an excavation that removed over 7000 artefacts from the caves in 2014[2], told Rio Tinto that the shelter known as Juukan 2, was of “the highest archaeological significance in Australia.”[3]

The Rio Tinto offices occupy the tallest building in Perth. In a relatively small and topographically flat city, the building is visible for kilometres around its central city site, including from my studio space in North Perth. It became a constant reminder in the weeks after the blast that this huge icon remained unscathed, while 46,000 years of human history in a remote and sparsely human-occupied part of our country had been blasted into oblivion.

Noticing it afresh made me wonder about the stories that exist under my feet, that because of colonisation will never be told. What did we lose almost 200 years ago? And what would happen if the places were reversed? If we made protests about a sacred city building that ended up being futile, and then bore witness to its destruction, how would we feel? What would we do?

The work Juukan Tears is in two main parts, consisting of a portrait of the Rio Tinto building “drawn” in relief, using void space to express lines. The lines themselves are serrated, as they are made of removed amalgamations of teardrop shapes, that were linked to create the broken waterfall of tears hung to the right of the portrait. The tear chains each have one hundred tears and hang in two rows of twenty-three. That makes four-thousand six-hundred teardrops, equalling one tear for every ten years of time lost when the Juukan Shelters were destroyed.

The piece is made from recycled corrugated galvinised steel sheets that I removed from the shed in my own backyard. There are over 7000 chromed steel chain links used to stitch together the parts. When added up, the broken waterfall contains approximately 80m of teardrop chain.

The background of the drawing section is cut into 382 rectangular columns of four different lengths. It was reported that there were 382 holes already drilled into the Juukan Shelters before the “Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Traditional Owners were made aware of the planned blast on May 15, 2020.”[4] Ultimately Rio Tinto decided it would be too dangerous to remove the shot that was already placed into each of these holes, so the site was detonated. By careful placement of the four different column lengths, I steganographically hid a Morse code message into the piece. Once decoded, it reads “46,000 year old Juukan Shelters destroyed for… iron ore.”


[1] Keira Jenkins, “Rio Tinto Tells Senate Inquiry It Could Have Avoided Juukan Gorge Destruction.”

[2] Gregg Borschmann, “Rio Tinto Knew Six Years Ago about 46,000-Year-Old Cave Site It Blasted.”

[3] Keira Jenkins, “Rio Tinto Tells Senate Inquiry It Could Have Avoided Juukan Gorge Destruction.”

[4] Keira Jenkins.

Opening and artist’s talk

Suddenly free at 6pm tonight? Opening in a few hours is IOTA21: Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday at the John Curtin Gallery. Register here and I’ll see you there!

Alternatively (or indeed while you’re at that link), RSVP to join us for the artist talk on Sunday. Full details below:

Below are a couple of snaps of the JCG install team. They’re wonderful, beautiful, art-loving install nerds. Thank you all for your perseverance, the piece looks magic!

Juukan Tears Offcuts

Juukan Tears – the offcuts

Juukan Tears – Offcuts

After using a jewellers saw that is 0.25mm wide to hand saw around 200m of steel, I linked the cut pieces back together again to form a portrait of the headquarters of the biggest iron ore producer in Australia. To make the portrait, and the 4,600 tears that emanated from it, I cobbled together four separate sheets of recycled corrugated steel. One was swallowed practically whole, while the others left a few offcuts. Some of them were huge sheets with all corrugations intact, and others were small, even dainty. Jewellery scale.

The very limited edition Juukan Tears Offcuts jewellery works are made from these. They are as they fell from the bench, with small jewellery fittings added to make thirty unique and eminently wearable pieces of art.

Juukan Tears Offcuts – jewellery works. MJC 2021

See these at the opening of:
The Indian Ocean Craft Triennial
Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday 

from 6pm Thursday the 9th of September, at the John Curtin Gallery. They will be on sale beside my work Juukan Tears until the 31st of October, the full the duration of the exhibition, or until sold out.

To make inquiries about the works and for a full price list get in touch with the gallery store, or me, and I can put you in contact with the team there.

Juukan Tears Offcuts – brooches and large pins
Juukan Tears Offcuts – earrings and small pins
Juukan Tears Offcuts – necklaces (r) and a neckpiece (l)
Juukan Tears Offcuts – neckpieces