Gina Narayan is a product of the Pacific Indian diaspora. Her forbears arrived in Fiji as indentured labourers for the sugar plantations. Born as a third generation Indian in Fiji, Gina’s family moved to Australia, where she eventually developed a profession as digital marketer. But to re-connect with her past, she has taken to a much more material medium, jewellery.
Her works draws on the material legacy of her family’s journey. Most of the Indians who arrived in Fiji were illiterate, so the story of their past rested particularly on the material remnants of their previous life. The Rajasthan origins of Gina’s family were most real in the bells that they retained. Gina has developed her own line of jewellery out of her worldly experiences under the label ji – Inspirations of Fiji.
These are her descriptions of work for the exhibition Welcome Signs.
Coral and Silver coin – Red coral symbolises cultures that have come to the shores of Fiji in search of a new life (either by choice or as indentured labours). The Silver coin a significant symbol of the Indian influence in Fiji’s past.
Black Onyx and Shell – Onyx, the core of Fiji with the shell representing & being a significant symbol of its indigenous past. The red corals among the strong Onyx represent other cultures that have come to the shores of Fiji and are now an integral part of Fiji.