Connexions: A Reflection of Multicultural Australia

Six artists respond to the horror of the Christchurch massacres by telling multicultural stories through contemporary jewellery to a global audience.

By Museum of Freedom and Tolerance

Connexions

Connexions was organised by contemporary jewellery artists Blandine Hallé and Melissa Cameron. Their aim in its conception was to introduce an international audience to Australian contemporary jewellery; its breadth and depth.

At the time of planning the exhibition, news media was dominated by the story of the Christchurch Massacres, which were perpetrated by an Australian citizen.

Connexions evolved to be a counter-action of sorts, aiming to present a cross-section of Australian makers with cross-cultural backgrounds, and showcasing artists with multifarious and deep connections to the human body.

Through this exhibit the artists aim to connect the audience to them; to share their Australian identity.

Shredded Net (2020) by Emily BeckleyMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Emily Beckley

Emily Beckley is an Indigenous artist of the Meriam Mir and Kala Lagaw language groups in Torres Strait Islands, Queensland. She uses Indigenous symbols, native seeds and coral, in conjunction with washed up fishing net and wire, to illustrate the devastation met by our environment at the hands of humankind.

Emily Beckley (2020) by Emily BeckleyMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Emily Beckley

"Global warming is such a real issue living in the Torrest Strait Islands. The tide is rising. We'll slowly lose the majority of our islands."

Destructive Beauty, Emily Beckley, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Sea Connection, Emily Beckley, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Zoom into the woven details of Emily Beckley's pieces here.

Francaustralian 1 (2020) by Blandine HalléMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Blandine Hallé

Blandine Hallé is a photographer and artist jeweller. She grew up in Paris and her family ancestry is French, German and Spanish and moved to Western Australia in 1997. Her artwork is a commentary on her emotional, cultural and sensory experiences as a French-Australian, expatriate and migrant.

Blandine Hallé (2020) by Blandine HalléMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Blandine Hallé

"I feel a very strong connection connection to the land here. The open skies, the vastness, the eccentricity of the vegetation. It's something you don't get in Europe."

Francaustralian 7, Blandine Hallé, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Francaustralian 5, Blandine Hallé, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Explore Blandine Hallé's use of symbolism in her jewellery artworks here.

Blended. (2020) by Eden LennoxMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Eden Lennox

Eden Lennox was born in Australia where her paternal Ashkenazi Jewish grandmother sought refuge with her children after the Holocaust. Her practice is informed by how an individual’s relationship to culture and space is expressed.

Eden Lennox (2020) by Eden LennoxMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Eden Lennox

"In Australia we don't address class, it's not talked about enough. But it's politically noticeable, in the material world, it's evident in social space."

Taking flight, Eden Lennox, Photo: Rob Frith, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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1990s horse, Eden Lennox, Photo: Rob Frith, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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See how Eden Lennox creates bespoke pieces from invaluable objects here.

Shams (2017) by Fatemeh BoroujeniMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Fatemeh Boroujeni

Fatemeh Boroujeni is an ethnic Bakhtiari from Iran who arrived in Australia in 2010. Using the technique of repoussé with contemporary designs, Boroujeni makes bold artworks in which the imprint and heritage of her Persian home city of Isfahan can be seen in the decorative details. 

Fatemeh Boroujeni (2020) by Fatemeh BoroujeniMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Fatemeh Boroujeni

"When I look at my pieces, I really see myself. The materials I pick, I know it comes from somewhere in the history of my life."

It’s all about me, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Photo: Rob Frith, 2015, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Kashkool, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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See how Fatemeh Boroujeni uses brush bristles to bring unique detail and meaning to her work here.

Left to right: AUS pin, US pin (2020) by Melissa CameronMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Melissa Cameron

Melissa Cameron is an Australian jeweller and artist with Anglo-Celtic and Canadian ancestry, born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. Cameron takes the discarded and bothersome detritus we look past on our streets everyday, but she treasures it. She cares for it and lovingly brings the white and black elements together on the body in protest to their division.

Melissa Cameron (2020) by Melissa CameronMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Melissa Cameron

"There's a sort of poetry in how jewellery is as an object. I definitely see my work as storytelling."

Left to right: A/US - Ear 01, US – Ear 01, A/US - Ear 02, Melissa Cameron, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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See how Melissa Cameron's works evolve from rusty, discarded objects to polished, refined pieces here.

Palmus Africanus No 2 & From the Shalimar Gardens N0 2 (2020) by Sultana ShamshiMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Sultana Shamshi

Sultana Shamshi was born in Bombay, India, of Hindu, Arab and Persian descent and emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1982. Through her work, Shamshi creates her own landscape binding the everyday with the coveted. Shamshi’s forest of brooches illustrate a bushland where cultures grow together, side by side.

Sultana Shamshi (2020) by Sultana ShamshiMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Watch: Sultana Shamshi

"The unity is the garden, the diversity is the plants in the garden. That's what we need today - to build a society of differences that elevates us."

Bombay Palms NO 1 & NO 2, Sultana Shamshi, Photo: Rob Frith, 2019, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Memento Mori, Bushfires 2020, Sultana Shamshi, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, From the collection of: Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
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Explore Sultana Shamshi's forest of brooches and see how they're a call to action for diversity and unity in contemporary society.

Credits: Story

Works by Emily Beckley, Blandine Hallé, Eden Lennox, Fatemeh Boroujeni, Melissa Cameron and Sultana Shamshi for Connexions Exhibition at Galerie Assemblages, October 13 - 31.

All photography by Rob Frith. Words by Laura Deakin and Melissa Cameron.

Short Films by VAM Media
Filming & Production: Brendan Hutchens
Additional filming: Lola Digital (in the Torres Strait)
Post Production: Steven Alyian
Music: Envelope

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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