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ISLAND WELCOME

Curated by Belinda Newick

10 August - 29 September 2024
Cathleen Edkins Gallery

With reference to welcome garlands gifted in many traditional islander cultures, twelve Australian jewellers have each made a neckpiece, lei or garland, interpreting the theme of welcome in response to current Australian immigration policy.

Island Welcome provides for the inclusion of diverse yet collegiate voices. Using a diversity of materials – including but not limited to seaweed, paper, an Australia flag, shells, metal, clay, used thongs – the exhibition highlights the insights and intrinsic material specificity that each artist brings to the making process, informed by years of tacit knowledge and technical mastery.

Many of the garlands express ideas that address how current immigration policies misrepresent the humanist values of welcome and acceptance that continue to be expressed in popular rhetoric of Australian values. The artists use the narrative potential of each distinct garland to encapsulate a complex visual language and to express the emotions felt by the maker during the process. Via this gentle activist enactment, the artists present their gestures of welcome, thereby contributing to the topic’s political, social, and cultural currency.

ARTISTS: Liv Boyle, Michelle Cangiano, Jess Dare, Anna Davern, Nicky Hepburn, Kath Inglis, Manon van Kouswijk, Sim Luttin, Vicki Mason, Belinda Newick, Lauren Simeoni, Melinda Young. 

The regional South Australian tour of Island Welcome is presented by Country Arts SA and curated by Belinda Newick.

Image: Kath Inglis, Lei from the Welcome mat, 2017, faceted segments hand cut from used thongs, silk thread, sterling silver, patina. Photo Kath Inglis.

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We acknowledge the Boandik Peoples as the traditional custodians of the land we meet on today. We respect their spiritual relationship with the land and recognise the deep feelings of attachment our First Nations Peoples have with the land.

Image: Belinda Bonney, Reconciliation of the Nation: we all walk together as one (detail)