By Museum of Freedom and Tolerance
Emily Beckley is an Indigenous artist of the Meriam Mir and Kala Lagaw language groups in Torres Strait Islands, Queensland.
Emily lives on Horn Island, which sits like a cherry on top of the cake of Australia. Beckley was born on the neighbouring island, which sits a short distance away or “5 minutes in a fast tinny (metal boat)”.
Necklaces; 925 silver, kulap seed, silk cord.
Beckley’s work takes the viewer on a journey through time where symbols serve as storytellers.
Beckley draws on the experiences, stories and history of her own culture as a starting point, then combines it with her father’s Muslim background and takes these concepts to a new conclusion within contemporary jewellery.
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."
Emily's use of Indigenous symbols, native seeds and coral, in conjunction with washed up fishing net and wire, illustrate the devastation met by our environment at the hands of humankind.
Sea Connection (2020) by Emily Beckley and Photo: Rob FrithMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
Necklace; ghost net, marine nylon rope, pearls
“We get caught up in a net and forget that we are all part of the same human race. We need to work together to protect our environment.”
– Emily Beckley
Destructive Beauty (2020) by Emily Beckley and Photo: Rob FrithMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance
925 silver, marine debris fuel caddy top, marine nylon rope, silk cord
Organised by Blandine Hallé and Melissa Cameron, Connexions came from a desire to share contemporary Australian jewellery with the world.
This became augmented by what Hallé and Cameron wanted to share about Australia, versus what was at the forefront of the news media at that time; namely the Christchurch Massacre, perpetrated by an Australian.
Selected for their existing contribution to this dialogue, each artist mines and interrogates their own histories for their artwork. Together, the complex, nuanced and diverse works portray Australia as a community that respects difference and honours diversity and complexity, more effectively than any single dialogue in which we might hope to engage could.
All works by Emily Beckley for Connexions Exhibition at Galerie Assemblages, 13 - 31 October 2020. All photographs by Rob Frith. Words by Laura Deakin and Melissa Cameron.
Header Image: 'Destructive Beauty' (2020) by Emily Beckley, photographed by Rob Frith.(Necklace, 925 silver, marine debris fuel caddy top, marine nylon rope, silk cord.)
Short Films by VAM Media
Filming & Production: Brendan Hutchens
Additional Filming (in Torres Strait): Lola Digital
Post Production: Steven Alyian