10 March - 9 April, 2020

Liv Boyle (Vic), Helen Britton (Australia-Germany), Maree Clarke (Vic), Michelle Stewart (Vic), Jess Dare (SA), Maureen Faye-Chauhan (Vic), Kyoko Hashimoto (NSW), Marian Hosking (Vic), Cara Johnson (Vic), Inari Kiuru (WA-Vic), Catherine Truman (SA), Lisa Waup (Vic).

Contemporary design positions itself as a means to mitigate the impact we have on Earth and to ameliorate the grave threats it faces. Alongside the proffered solutions intended to avoid the impending ecological and social crises though, there is a need to acknowledge the damage already inflicted; to allow grief for our losses already suffered and those yet to come.

As design aims to improve life through its utility, jewellery is uniquely positioned to meet more intrinsic functions by facilitating an internal space and a mode of emotional expression that all humans require. Connected to mourning throughout human history and across cultures, jewellery has been used to carry memory, to make formal and public expressions of grief, and to console. Though the use of mourning jewellery in western cultures has become less formalised and more private through the 20th and 21st centuries, the profound subjectivity of those pieces handed down, gifted or bought in remembrance, imbues them with meanings more profound than words can encompass.

The elegy is traditionally a poetic form that follows the recognised stages of loss: lament, praise and consolation. This exhibition invites a group of Australian artists to respond to the notion of the elegy and create one, or a series of objects, that facilitate mourning and allow for praise or consolation where it can be found. The participating jewellers all have a history of working with the natural environment, not just as source of inspiration but as co-collaborator: their work is profoundly tied to their concern for nature.

Elegy is not an optimistic project, but nor is it a passive one. It asks us to recognise the profound mental and emotional impacts climate change has on individuals and on society as a whole, and to acknowledge our grief by giving it a receptacle, so it may be held, carried, honoured and, most importantly, used.

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week 2020, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

Elegy pricelist

Coal necklace , by Kyoko Hashimoto, coal, sterling silver

Work from Elegy

Highs and lows by Elegy Highs and lows, 2020, by Liv Boyle. Nylon fishing braid (found on Henderson Island), fine silver, copper, 18k gold, 45 x 28 x 5cm
Grief by Elegy Grief, 2020, by Helen Britton. Onyx, sIlver, paint, brooch 6 x 9 x 1.3cm
River Reed  by Elegy River Reed , 2020, by Maree Clarke. Glass, charcoal, white ochre, cockatoo feathers, approx. 1000 x 5cm
Inheritance by Elegy Inheritance, 2020, by Jess Dare. Soda lime glass, foam, vintage jewellery box, copper, various dimensions, largest 23cm

A lament for the known and unknown by Elegy A lament for the known and unknown, 2020, by Maureen Faye-Chauhan, Graphite and waxed linen twine,
Necklace 33 x 18 x 1.5cm, object largest dimension 3cm

Coal Necklace by Elegy Coal Necklace, 2020, by Kyoko Hashimoto. Coal, oxidised sterling silver, 20 x 15 x 2cm

Untitled (group) by Elegy Untitled (group), 2020, by Marian Hosking. Weathered timber, blackened sterling silver, heat coloured sterling silver, Casuarina wood, various dimensions, largest 45 x 12 x 13cm

Hollow by Elegy Hollow, 2020, by Cara Johnson. Found tree guard, found silage net,
42 x 34 x 4cm

I remember rain by Elegy I remember rain, 2020, by Inari Kiuru. Glass (including repurposed, vintage, collected) stainless steel, nylon, folded length approx. 160cm
Marking life. And death. by Elegy Marking life. And death., 2020, by Michelle Stewart. Recycled glass, hemp cord, length approx. 140cm

Ghost by Elegy Ghost, 2020, by Catherine Truman. Thermoplastic embedded with phosphorescent powders, crystal cut aquamarine, vintage glass frog, vintage lab glass flask, overall 68 x 49 x 40cm

Ghost (detail) by Elegy Ghost (detail), 2020, by Catherine Truman. Thermoplastic embedded with phosphorescent powders, crystal cut aquamarine, vintage glass frog, vintage lab glass flask, overall 68 x 49 x 40cm

Mama by Elegy Mama, 2020, by Lisa Waup. Porcelain, assorted feathers, silk thread, recycled sterling silver, copper, jobs seeds, assorted animal skulls, animal bones, enamel paint, steel, neckpiece 16 x 50 x 1cm