Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Transplantation: a sense of place and culture

This exhibition at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, shows the work of 12 contemporary jewellers based in Britain or Australia, who were asked to create a body of work in response to the idea of transplantation. Some such as Bridie Lander and Joungmee Do reflect on their own experiences of transplantation from one culture to another by considering the flora and fauna of the contrasting cultures. Others consider the transplantation of other people, such as Jo Pond reflecting on a community of Sisters who set up a boarding school for girls. Her thoughtful work includes small containers and thimbles and references communion, needlework and the rosary to consider the confined lives and loss of personal identity of these women.

Norman Cherry and Jack Cunningham both reflect on the Scottish diaspora; Cunningham with composite pieces incorporating fish and coral and Cherry with oxidised silver. I found Cherry’s necklace entitled ‘Bed or board’ interesting; it contains overlapping gate-like shapes, that resemble bed ends or prison bars, trapping a stylized human form and references Lincoln castle prison from where many prisoners were transported to Australia.

Lin Cheung has based her work on convict love tokens, which were given by prisoners to their loved ones before they were transported. Her work depicts a purse and a series of handmade coins made from her own melted down sentimental jewellery. Laura Potter has also made a series of artefacts known as goldweights representing items linking to the social history of Australian gold miners, while Roseanne Bartley uses found plastic artefacts to produce cartographic pieces. Jivan Astfalck has used found objects to produce a narrative of home. This work, entitled ‘Heimat’ is made up of six separate wearable pieces, including a lace collar, a brooch and some feathers, it is only when they are considered in sequence that the nostalgic story they contain can be read. In contrast, Anna Davern, Sheridan Kennedy and Nicholas Bastin have produced fantastical hybrid creatures to reflect multiple identities and unfamiliar environments. The exhibition, therefore, reflects twelve different views of transplantation, some personal, some historical, but all thought provoking.

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