Les Arts Bougent
that means "The Arts Are Active", is the first visual arts promotional bi-monthly magazine in New Caledonia. It highlights local artists, art happenings, galeries and exhibitions, etc. As art jewelery is not a hot topic on my tiny island, I decided to write an article for the Sept-Oct issue of this wonderful publication, to share my views on contemporary art jewelery. Here is the article translated into English.
"Contemporary Jewelery is Alive and Well in New Zealand"
So why make contemporary jewelery in NC? So many people ask me that question. Because jewelery is universal. Humanity has forever needed to decorate itself. Jewelery speaks with a language of it's own. Each culture has it's own jewelery language, and contemporary art jewelery looks at and questions, challenges, recalls, teaches, and shares this language through inovation and creation. Another reason is to remind the community that local artists exist and need to be supported and encouraged. The last reason is that I LOVE JEWELERY! All kinds. I love to see what amazing new things jewelers, crafts people, and artists can do with jewelery, and I love to share this passion.
In other parts of the South Pacific, contemporary jewelery is alive and doing really well.
The strong New Zealand contemporary jewelery scene is creating a lot of talk on an international level. While using the language (techniques, materials, and strategies) of contemporary jewelery, these artists are asking questions about the identity of Maori and Pacific art and what it might evolve into in the future; begining with questioning the use of Maori or pacific island forms and materials to express a New Zealand identity.
The recent work moves away from trying to create powerful statements about identity, and begins to think about other aspects of jewelery and its history. Where the idea of identity is touched upon,it is done so less intensely, less directly, and with an aversion to using clichés and stereotypical symbols.
New Zealand contemporary jewelery has been called authentic in it's ability to combine a sense of past and place in a distinctive and skilled way.
The exhibition "A Pocket Guide to New Zealand Jewelery" is touring the United States. To have a look at the pieces in the exhibition, and other interesting work, check out one of the leading American galleries for contemporary jewelery
Or you can go to the Tjibaou Cultural Center and see an incredible piece by Niki Hastings, which was used as one of the objects as starting point for the expo REBOUND, by the artists from SOAPART.