It might be tempting to say that Lisa Walker makes jewellery out of any old thing – but it isn’t true. The eclectic objects that form her distinctive necklaces, brooches and other body-adornments are meticulously selected and shrewdly modified before they see the light of day. She salvages her materials from an unlikely cornucopia of sources – re-presenting objects such as car parts, animal skins and even kitchen utensils through the frame of body adornment’s long history. Tiny Lego hats, helmets and hairpieces – of the kind that clog vacuum cleaner nozzles in children’s bedrooms around the world – are strung on finely plaited cords like exotic beads or shells; trashy gossip magazines are lashed together to yield a breastplate befitting our celebrity-obsessed culture; dozens of oboe reeds donated by a musician friend bristle round the wearer’s neck like the teeth of some unimaginable deep sea leviathan.
Was it serendipity that the opening of Christchurch Art Gallery's Burster Flipper Wobbler Dripper Spinner Stacker Shaker Maker coincided with that of Slip Cast, a group exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum that also focused on the pleasure that artists take in manipulating materials in the process of making art?
The title of this work means ‘to bring to light, to claim again’. The seven heitiki (greenstone pendants) Fiona Pardington has photographed came originally from her iwi, Kāi Tahu, in Te Waipounamu. All are now held in the collection of Auckland Museum. Traditionally worn close to the heart, heitiki are sacred fertility symbols in te ao Māori, strongly associated with whakapapa (family connections across time). Fiona not only wanted to record the physical attributes of these old and precious objects, but also to capture their more intangible qualities, such as how they speak of the past and this place, despite being stored so far away.
(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )