Welcome Signs: Contemporary Interpretations of the Garland

Var mala exchange of garlands at Indian wedding (photo by k♥money on Creative Commons license)

Var mala exchange of garlands at Indian wedding (photo by k♥money on Creative Commons license)

The World Craft Council is hosting a conference in New Delhi, 4-6 February 2011, titled Abhushan: Tradition & Design – Dialogues for the 21st Century. A key element in this event is a series of exhibitions surveying jewellery from different world regions.

For the Asia Pacific region, works will be gathered that respond to the theme of welcome, using the garland as a reference. These garlands are typically given to honoured guests and are either made of flowers or have a floral design.

Through our individual acts of hospitality, we contribute to sustaining a common world. Each culture has its own way to welcome the returning traveller, visiting dignitary, tourist or a simple stranger at the door. Across the Asia Pacific, the act of bestowing a garland is a widespread greeting. Garlands adorn this world, from the jasmine malai of Thailand to the pandanus salusalu of the Pacific.

But now, hospitality wanes. With urbanisation and migration flows, our world is increasingly located in a crowd of strangers. There’s less space or time for the niceties of welcome.

In order to preserve this human connection, jewellers are playing an important role by adapting the traditional garland to contemporary conditions. The works chosen for this exhibition feature emerging and established contemporary jewellers who have developed the garland in different ways. Some of substituted the floral elements with materials distinctive to their own place, including recycled materials. Others have explored alternative ways in which jewellery can connect people together.

Welcome Signs: Contemporary Interpretations of the Garland will hopefully be the beginning of a series of jewellery exchanges across the Asia Pacific region. For images from the installation and event at Abhushan, go here.

Artists come from various parts of the Asia Pacific (with heritage):

Welcome Signs is curated by Kevin Murray and supported by Arts Victoria.

Related posts:

Relevant links:

Welcome Signs is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

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