Tag Archives: welcome

Gina Narayan–an Indian necklace across the Pacific

Gina Narayan

Gina Narayan

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.

Gina Narayan 'Term Deposit' coral and silver coin

Gina Narayan 'Term Deposit' coral and silver coin

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.






Gina Narayan 'Dusky Moon' black onyx and shel

Gina Narayan 'Dusky Moon' black onyx and shel

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.

Winita Kongpradit’s photo-garland

Winita Kongpradit

Winita Kongpradit

Winita Kongpradit began her art education in Japan and then completed her graduate and post-graduate studies at the College of Fine Art, University of NSW, Australia. Since then she has been working as a jewellery designer in Thailand.

Her phuang malai transforms a floral garland into a contemporary wreath, decorated with a wash of images. The work evokes the stream of images that constitute identity in social networks like Facebook. While on the one hand it can be seen as a celebration of desire and friendship, on the other it seems to reflect an indiscriminate sea of images with which we are now awash.

Winita  Kongpradit Other Self Coloured Zinc, Paper, Found Object, Resin, 2010

Winita Kongpradit Other Self Coloured Zinc, Paper, Found Object, Resin, 2010

Artist statement

Jewellery are the most efficient way to accomplish my art work, which is considered a combination of media, drawing and writing. My cultural background is usually reflected through the work. Inspiration came from things happen around me. Images which occur in my works are linked to experiences of the traditional Asian based content of my heritage and the influence of the technology in today’s life.

The world we live is now changing so fast that we miss a lot of things significantly without realizing. This piece is trying to capture my personal memory. It comes out of the need for proof of existence, and proof of identity. They are images of my existing from the past, and represent my desire to create the impossible because these images had now physically disappeared. Each one has an individual narrative story as an outlet self – expression. Objects which I made have came straight out from my memory. They are bounded around the same way as the Thai traditional “Phuang Malai” has been made.

These objects contradicted their survival in today’s world. The continued use of different images represents my sometimes unapproachable memory. It is an illusion of something that is full of happiness, at the same time empty, containing nothing but sadness.

Winita Kongpradit is a participant in the exhibition Welcome Signs.

Palapa–Nusantara reunited as jewellery

Anastasia Sulemantoro, Annisa Fardan Nabila,  Aulia Amanda Santoso, Emeraldi Kumastyo Paramaeswara and Maria Yosepha

Anastasia Sulemantoro, Annisa Fardan Nabila, Aulia Amanda Santoso, Emeraldi Kumastyo Paramaeswara and Maria Yosepha

Palapa is the joint effort of five product design students from Bandung Institute – Anastasia Sulemantoro, Annisa Fardan Nabila, Aulia Amanda Santoso, Emeraldi Kumastyo Paramaeswara and Maria Yosepha. Their idea of transforming a traditional myth into a gift emerged from the Transforming Tradition Workshop by Mr. Adhi Nugraha in September 2009.

We know the nutmeg as a spice that drew the Dutch to Indonesia and provided the Dutch East Indies company with much of its wealth, at the cost of many lives. Using carved rosewood, these young designers have now recovered the nutmeg as a symbol of Indonesian unity.

Palapa by Anastasia Sulemantoro, Annisa Fardan Nabila,  Aulia Amanda Santoso, Emeraldi Kumastyo Paramaeswara and Maria Yosepha (etched brass is made by Kriya Nusantara) rosewood and brass, 2010

Palapa by Anastasia Sulemantoro, Annisa Fardan Nabila, Aulia Amanda Santoso, Emeraldi Kumastyo Paramaeswara and Maria Yosepha (etched brass is made by Kriya Nusantara) rosewood and brass, 2010

Their statement

PALAPA begins with the concept of "giving" as it is an Indonesian people nature to give. It is reflected in many Indonesian tradition and lifestyle, from daily activities, to ritual and religious ceremony. Furthermore, it is a common thing for Indonesian to bring gift for closest people, like family and friends after their trip to foreign places.

We choose jewelry as a gift object to be developed, as jewelry is a product designed for exposing itself, and has an ability to create interaction between the user and others using its attractive visual appearance.

The basic form of PALAPA is a sphere sliced into eight pieces. Since sphere has neither front nor backside, dominant wouldn’t exist as all sides are equal.

The eight amount itself comes from eastern spiritual philosophy based on eight wind direction, which also represents eight ethnic group existing in Indonesia based on isle groups and islands in Indonesia; Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes, Nusa Tenggara, Bali, Moluccan, and Papua. Each piece expresses the uniqueness of every ethnic group in every island, which is visually represented by its traditional decorative pattern.

As we collected images of Indonesia from all provinces, a combination of brown and golden shade dominate, which underlies us to make the choice of material; rosewood and golden metal.

Traditional pattern metal attached to wooden piece represents every ethnic group is unique, special and has their own characters. This pattern variation will enable people to choose which one represents them best.

Back to the main concept of giving, here every piece is meant to be given to closest persons as a gift from one who has bought PALAPA from Indonesia. Here, the act of giving will make a personal expression in both of the giver and the given one.

The basic structure of PALAPA is to unite all the pieces in one unity, which is a metaphor to Indonesia motto; Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Instead of the differences, stay the unity). Every single piece represents uniqueness and diversity, whereas all the eight pieces are combined, a solid sphere will be formed. It represents unity, since a solid sphere wouldn’t be formed when apiece is missed.

PALAPA pieces are made from rosewood with the traditional pattern shaped metal attached on it. When apiece stands alone, adornment beauty shimmers with sparkle of the metal, yet a sweet humble brown appears when all the pieces are combined, philosophizing; to form a unity one have to forbear one’s ego to accept others.

It is all connected with the naming of PALAPA itself. The word PALAPA comes from Sumpah Palapa from Patih (vice regent) Gadjah Mada who has swore not to eat palapa fruit (nutmeg) before he could unite Nusantara – a term used by Indonesian people to define Indonesian archipelago.

Briefly, PALAPA isn’t only about a gift, or jewelry, but a message for Indonesia and world that together we should advance unity despite of our egos.

Palapa is part of the Welcome Signs exhibition. It reflects the way in which jewellery in the Asia Pacific is drawing inspiration from traditions involving organic materials.

Regine Schwarzer creates Royal Jewels unique to Australia

Regine Schwarzer

Regine Schwarzer

Born 1961 in Germany, Schwarzer grew up in Bavaria, training in jewellery making and metalwork at the Zeichenakademie Hanau one of the oldest training institutions in Europe. In 1993 she moved to Australia where she lives and works in the Adelaide Hills.

In the Australian outback she discovered her passion for the abundant gems and minerals she loves collecting on field trips. Inspired by the colours and structures of these minerals, she learned how to shape them and uses them often in her work.

Visual uniqueness gives value to common materials that are often overlooked or disregarded. By slicing into the materials I discover structures, patterns and colours, traces of their geological history hidden in the layers.

GeoMorphing, her latest body of work, is inspired by the crystalline formations of minerals which grow in a variety of different systems. By designing and constructing both jewellery and objects that reference and utilize gems and minerals she investigates the term precious as it is often attributed to certain materials.

Schwarzer holds a Masters Degree in Visual Arts and Design. She exhibits widely nationally and internationally, her work is included in many private collections and has been published in Crafts Arts International as well as 1000 rings, 500 Gemstone Jewels and 500 Silver Jewelry Designs by Lark books.

Regine Schwarzer 'Royal Jewels' Necklace, Royal Jewels, chabazite in basalt, cubic zirconia, sterling silver, 2008, 23 x 23 x 1.4 cm

Regine Schwarzer 'Royal Jewels' Necklace, Royal Jewels, chabazite in basalt, cubic zirconia, sterling silver, 2008, 23 x 23 x 1.4 cm

Here is the statement about her work:

The minerals on which I base the design and construction of my work are sourced from the Australian outback; the raw materials are a rich inspiration for exploring the nature of what is deemed precious.

I value visual uniqueness and thus devised the piece The Royal Jewels.

The rocks used are inexpensive yet I consider their uniqueness and expressivity far exceeds the commercial worth of classical gem material such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires. This combination of the known, cubic zirconia as diamond simulants and the unknown, chabazite in basalt and the deliberate juxtaposition and obscuring of materials are used to question commonly held assumptions about preciousness.

This neckpiece was conceived as a piece that could be suitable for Royalty, appearing to be expensive yet using gems that have a relatively low market value. The chabazite in basalt has volcanic origin and was mined in NSW. The crystal clusters, zeolite, which are nestled inside the rock, inspired me to add large sparkling gems of cubic zirconia which simulate diamonds: the precious placed next to the worthless.

Contemporary Australian Art practice is informed by our unique geography and the complex interplay of European settlement, more recent regional development and our role as 21st century global citizens.

In The Royal Jewels I mine this rich lode to present a garland featuring material often overlooked or discarded, referencing both the ephemeral nature of laurel wreath / floral garland and the spectacular pieces in precious stones and metals by which they have often been replaced.

Curator’s note: In the history of jewellery, wealth has been most often symbolised in diamonds and gold. While for a country like Australia, much of its wealth is derived from much cruder materials, such as iron and coal. Regine Schwarzer’s necklace helps us appreciate the materials that underpin preciousness. Her work has parallels with the Queensland jeweller Ari Athans, whose rings include the quartz characteristic of gold fields.

Regine Schwarzer’s work is part of the exhibition Welcome Signs.


Grees Manupassa–Welcome to Indonesia

Grees Manupassa

Grees Manupassa

Rr. Grees Manupassa S. Sn. – usually called as ‘Grees’ – was born thirty years ago in middle part of Java, Indonesia. While she graduated from the Indonesian Art Institute in 2004, she has been involved in other art events and exhibitions, such as the Yogyakarta Art Festival (2001), Inacraft (Jakarta 2007 and 2008), Visual Art Exhibition EXPOSIGNS (Yogyakarta, 2009). In 2007, she received the award for the best contemporary work in the Mutumanikam Nusantara Jewellery Exhibition (Jakarta).

Her use of filigree in the work especially made for Welcome Signs demonstrates the capacity of silver to reflect the flowing organic forms of nature.

Grees Manupassa ‘Mighty Simplicity’ sterling silver 925 and circon (technic: joining and filigree; finishing: polishing), 2010

Grees Manupassa ‘Mighty Simplicity’ sterling silver 925 and circon (technic: joining and filigree; finishing: polishing), 2010

In her words:

‘The Mighty Simplicity’ is inspired by the well-known local wisdom of Indonesia with its friendly, pleasant and warm characteristics along with beauty of landscapes, cultures and traditions.

Floral arrangements such as jasmines and orchids are often used as welcome signs apart from being used as ornaments in many traditional rituals. This is why I chose these two flowers for my work; they have rare beauty, exotic look also as the icon of Indonesia’ natural wealth.

Within the whole production process that takes about one month long, I find out my own challenge in dealing with complicated yet exciting details. The traditional filigree technique was combined with some other techniques to bring out strong traditional elements in modern look.

I personally wish ‘The Mighty Simplicity’ could represent the civilization, beauty and warmth of Indonesia which is presented to those who are longing to visit Indonesia.

Hyo-Jung Lim–garlands for objects

Lim Hyo June

Lim Hyo June

Hyo-Jung Lim is a Korean metalsmith who trained at Middlesex University and Royal College in the UK, before completing her PhD in Han Yang University, Seoul, Korea.

Her focus is tableware design and she is engaged by the food culture of her home country. In response to the challenges of fast-food, she designs elegant garlands to adorn our meals. This manages to sustain an element of ritual in an otherwise homogenous lifestyle.

Her work reminds us that garlands are not only for people, but they are also an important way in which we mark a special occasion by adorning the things around us.

Hyo-Jung Lim 'Garlands for Objects'

Hyo-Jung Lim 'Garlands for Objects'

Hyo-Jung Lim is one of the artists in the exhibition Welcome Signs.

Yuri Kawanabe–weaving an Asian welcome in metal

Yuri Kawanabe 'Whirly halo neckpiece' (aluminium, silver 40 x 49 x 9 cm, 2004)

Yuri Kawanabe 'Whirly halo neckpiece' (aluminium, silver 40 x 49 x 9 cm, 2004)

Yuri Kawanabe constructing her work

Yuri Kawanabe constructing her work

I have always been fascinated by ceremonial displays of decorations handcrafted as though by magic. In my childhood, growing up in suburban Tokyo in the 1960s, I could still witness with excitement seasonal festivities with traditional decorations made from perishable materials like paper, straw, bamboo and other fresh plants. Over the years I have recognized that the aesthetic that I have been seeking through my art was actually rooted in these ephemeral creations.

In recent years, I have travelled to various regions in Asia and the Pacific including Tonga, Bali, China, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. There, I have encountered many ephemeral decorations made by locals for religious and seasonal occasions. I found a strong similarity to my own designs in those often modest, but meticulously crafted, ornaments. It is great to know that the skills to make these kinds of decorations have been passed from generation to generation and still survive today.

Ephemeral materials symbolically present a short-lived beauty of youth, purity and devotion. Fresh materials in vivid colours also retain (and conceal) tensions in their own forms. Thus in the early days (or hours) of a display, these perishable ornaments keep their strength within and make a striking impact on their viewers.

Yuri Kawanabe's photo from Bundi

Yuri Kawanabe's photo from Bundi

Intense contrasting colours dazzled me everywhere in India. At weddings, and in Hindu temples and festivals, everything and everyone seems to dress in almost iridescent hues. They look astonishingly beautiful and lively. The desire to adorn using the bright colours has been commonplace in many cultures worldwide, but no other culture than India seems to have such an eagerness to open the floodgates of colour.

I made the “Garland” series of anodised aluminium jewellery after an artist-in-residence stay in India. It was my attempt to generate a sort of visual “magnetism” by activating a field using bright contrasting colours. As in depictions of various idols, which are glorified with bright halos around them, the “Whirly Halo” neckpiece is designed to circle around a wearer’s head.

In a small northern town called Bundi, I was one of a few lucky tourists who happened to be there on the day of town’s annual festival. As a guest invited to the ceremony at the start of procession, I was presented with a beautiful garland. When the soft, fragrant string of flowers was placed around my neck by a young girl, I suddenly realised how honoured I felt. It was a gesture of welcome.

Yuri Kawanabe was born in Tokyo and completed a Master of Arts in ‘chokin’ (metalwork) at Tokyo University of Fine Arts. She moved to Australia in 1987, but retains strong ties to Japan and is involved in many exchange projects. Her works have been collected by museums including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Yuri Kawanabe is a participating artist in the Welcome Signs exhibition.

Sam Tho Duong – the private made public

Sam Tho Duong

Sam Tho Duong

When Sam Tho Duong was 14 years of age his family left Vietnam and settled in Pforzheim, the jewellery capital of Germany, if not the world. Sam was intrigued by the Goldstadt (Gold City) and began to study jewellery at the Technical College for Design of Jewelry & Objects. He took up a goldsmith apprenticeship with Dr.Wellendorff and then completed a diploma of design at University of Design, Pforzheim. Since he started as a freelance designer in 2002, he has shown his work in dozens of exhibitions, including six solo shows throughout Europe. In 2009 he won the prestigious Herbert-Hofmann-Prize for contemporary jewellery.

For Welcome Signs, he has contributed his work In der Ruhe Liegt die Kraft (In Silence lies Power). These include three ‘garlands’ modelled on traditional floral neckwreaths but made of toilet paper. The garlands are constructed by cutting white and yellow toilet paper into strips and rolling each piece in his fingers. These ‘paper pearls’ are then threaded on a steel string for permanence.

For Sam, the work reflects on the importance of the rest room as a sanctuary in our day. As modern people we depend on the regular supply of a material of which we remain silent, toilet paper, which Sam describes as ‘clean, soft and reliable. It deserves more than been flushed down the toilet.’

The contemporary jewellery movement has been largely defined as a challenge to traditional notions of preciousness. They sought to give value to jewellery not in the materials but through the ideas. Plastic could be just as beautiful  as gold, if designed with skill and imagination. This modernist challenge continues in Sam’s work, though he adds a critical edge in using a material that we normally keep out of sight.

So can we imagine a work like Sam’s ever being used as a welcome garland? Usually these garlands are made of material in public use, like flowers, money or confectionary. Can they be made from a material associated with private space? Or does their intrinsic beauty transcend all negative associations?

Sam Tho Duong 'Sanf & Sicher' (toiletpaper)

Sam Tho Duong 'Sanf & Sicher' (toiletpaper)

Sam Tho Duong 'Sanf & Sicher' (toiletpaper)

Sam Tho Duong 'Sanf & Sicher' (toiletpaper)

Sam Tho Duong is a participant in the Welcome Signs exhibition

Yu-Fang Chi – every body has a silver lining

Yu-Fang Chi 'Laced with lace'

Yu-Fang Chi 'Laced with lace'

Yu-Fang Chi

Yu-Fang Chi

Yu-Fang Chi is a Taiwanese jeweller who studied metalsmithing at the Tainan National University of The Arts. She has been represented in a number of international exhibitions, including Schmuck and Talente, Korea and Japan. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Art and Design, National Hsinchu University of Education.

Her series ‘Laced with Lace’ involves delicate silverwork that forms organic like patterns that drape over parts of the body. Chi’s work explores the space between the body and jewellery by creating work that does not obviously attach to the body as a foreign object. Her work follows the natural contours of the body as though it patterns the skin itself.

Chi’s work reflects an experimentation with form and content, applying a technique associated with needlework to metalsmithing. The result has the kind of easeful grace that we might associated with the floral garland. But its ephemerality is also a challenge. Like the traditional garland, does the fragility of this lace work limit its durability?

Chi reflects on the work in her own words:

In contrast to classical lace, objects in the “Laced with Lace” series do not have dyed or inlaid borders surrounding a central body of work. Rather these pieces are a natural extension of closeness, radiating outwards from spaces and holes at the corners and seams, following the joints and hugging the body. Through this light and fine “layer” the physical form is part of an intriguing mixture – actively “wearing” and passively being “embraced.” Without a central motif, the objects are partial forms that can be used to reflect on the past, similar to the interrelationship of the skin and the organs, alluding to the certain area of the body. – Shoulders? Wrists? Chest? Posterior? The light, mobile nature of the lace skin evolves from being merely a display, into something that is glimmering and alluring. Viewers focus on and are soon lost in the complex and difficult to understand lattice work, with no single thing on which to focus or reflect. The soaring, extending pattern causes one’s line of vision to move rapidly. Within this flattened visual experience, patterns, totems and messages are removed for a more visually stunning effect without feeling or name.

Yu-Fang Chi 'Laced with lace'

Yu-Fang Chi 'Laced with lace'

Yu-Fang Chi is one of the participating artists in the Welcome Signs exhibition

Vinit Koosolmanomai – jewellery for the blind

Vinit Koosolmanomai

Vinit Koosolmanomai

Vinit Koosolmanomai studied jewellery at the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences, in Bangkok. He then travelled to San Francisco where he took specialist workshops at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Art.

For Welcome Signs, Vinit has produced a series of necklaces that are designed to be worn by blind people. For this, he has focused on the quality of sound – a dimension not often considered in jewellery. He has created necklaces made from tiny bells of many colours woven together.

The idea came to him while playing with bells in his studio. To realise the project, Vinit worked with an organisation for the blind called Kow-Mai, which means ‘new step’. Photographs of blind people wearing the necklaces were taken by his associated Pichai. The necklaces are then exhibited alongside the photographs and all money from sales is returned to the organisation. According to Vinit, the participants enjoyed the sounds of the necklace greatly, but also wanted information about how they looked as well, even if this wasn’t something they could experience directly.

According to Vinit, ‘the important thing is to let them know that people still care about them.’ In the context of Welcome Signs, Vinit’s work asks the interesting question of how we make welcome those who can never fully belong to the same world.

In Thai culture, the phuang malai is a floral garland that symbolises beauty and respect. While blind persons can smell the jasmine scent, they are unable to enjoy its visual beauty. Vinit has given a new dimension to the garland with the addition of sound. It also makes us ask some important questions:

  • What is the ongoing role of the participants? We get to see images of them wearing the work, but what do they get from us?

Vinit provides a broader audience with a taste of the new contemporary jewellery emerging from Thailand. If Vinit’s work is anything to go by, then we might expect new work that approaches jewellery from left field, probing its shared value. According to Vinit; ‘My interest in jewellery comes from my surprise that people would like to wear jewellery. In some cases, they have to experience pain before they can wear jewellery.’ Thai jewellery is bound to surprise.

For more contemporary Thai jewellery, visit Atta Gallery.

Vinit Koosolmanomai jewellery worn by participants in his project

Vinit Koosolmanomai jewellery worn by participants in his project

Vinit Koosolmanomai’s work will be on display in Welcome Signs: Contemporary Interpretations of the Garland.