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 translates from Mâori as ‘to bring to light, to claim again’. Each of the seven silver gelatin photographs depicts a Ngai Tahu heitiki (greenstone pendant) from the Auckland Museum. All from South Island locations, the heitiki are very sacred objects and it took Fiona Pardington 18 months to get permission from hapu (sub-tribes) to photograph them. Traditionally worn close to the heart, heitiki are fertility symbols and so are strongly connected with life and death.
Pardington has used an average of ten flashes for each exposure. This process recalls a Mâori idea that light is held within greenstone, suggesting that what Pardington was doing was not illuminating the heitiki, but releasing a light that was already there.
Pardington was born in Auckland. She is of Scottish and Mâori (Ngai Tahu, Kati Mamoe) descent. Since graduating with a degree in photography in 1984 from the University of Auckland, Pardington has exhibited widely and lectured on photography throughout New Zealand. She lives in Auckland.