Te Ao Hurihuri: ever changing world
250 years on from James Cook’s historic voyage from England to New Zealand, two cutting edge jewellery collectives embark upon their own journeys. Handshake (NZ) and Dialogue Collective (UK) navigate around the impact of colonialism to create a bejewelled voyage like no other. ..
Te Ao Hurihuri: Ever Changing World showcases work by twenty-two artists who specialise in using jewellery to communicate ideas. The work on display shows a diversity of materials, techniques and scale. Cultural backgrounds and migrated ancestry influence the work that each artist makes on their own voyage. An openness to new ideas provides a rich backdrop for tackling current issues in ways that are experimental and striking. Handshake (HS) and Dialogue collective (DC) wrestle with topics that range from identity to isolation and from heritage to hedonism.
This, the second collaboration between HS and DC, is an inspiring example of the cultivation of international relationships. Both collectives are renowned for their support and mentoring of jewellery artists, as well as their inventive exhibition ideas. This 2018 partnership Te Ao Hurihuri : Ever Changing World is just as ambitious.
In the voyage I have chosen, I investigate the encounters between the English navigators and the Native population and I re-imagine the jewelled gifts they could have exchanged at that time. Although there were dimensions of misunderstanding, violence and tragedy associated with those meetings, there also was sharing and mutual curiosity.
First there were the mutual interest and the nice gifts: in my imagination, the Maori gave a feather necklace to James cook as it was considered as very precious for them and the British sailors gave a vegetable Necklace to a Maori Chief as they were providing potatoes and vegetable seeds to the population to grow them.
But things turned nasty very quickly: there are reports that some Maori were cannibals and made a stew of human parts and we know that the English sold arms to the native population which initiated the Musket war and the death of many Maori. Time to wear your shame badges Mr James Cook and Mr Tamati Waka Nene!