Sultana Shamshi: Cultures Growing Together

Bombay-born artist Sultana Shamshi's forest of brooches represent a bushland where cultures grow together, side by side

Sultana Shamshi

Sultana Shamshi was born in Bombay, India, of Hindu, Arab and Persian descent and emigrated to Perth in 1982. She has also lived in Europe and South East Asia, but Perth has long been her home.

This work from Shamshi is inspired by her immediate surroundings and represents a reaction to the desecration and deforestation of our environment. Here Shamshi creates her own landscape binding the everyday with the coveted.

Palmus Africanus No 2 & From the Shalimar Gardens N0 2 (2020) by Sultana Shamshi and Photo: Rob FrithMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Palmus Africanus No 2 & From the Shalimar Gardens N0 2

Brooches; African trade bead, recycled silver.

“In this era of global uncertainty and fear, it is more important than ever to find new, generative and abundant forms of connection with each other, across the borders and boundaries that separate us.” - Sultana Shamshi

Bombay Palms NO 1 & NO 2 (2019) by Sultana Shamshi and Photo: Rob FrithMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Bombay Palms NO 1 & NO 2

Silk, recycled silver.

Commonplace materials such as plastic, paper and metal are juxtaposed against exquisitely embroidered sari borders (commissioned by the wives of wealthy Parsi traders in the last century) or intricately made millefiori beads from the glassblowers of Murano (a material instrumental in the colonising of Africa).

Bloody Beautiful Blossoms NO 1 & NO 2 (Left to Right) (2019) by Sultana Shamshi and Photo: Rob FrithMuseum of Freedom and Tolerance

Bloody Beautiful Blossoms NO 1 & NO 2

Brooches; antique embroidery, recycled silver.

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."

Palmus Africanus No 2, Sultana Shamshi, Photo: Rob Frith, 2020, 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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About the Connexions Exhibit

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 the time; namely the Christchurch Massacres, 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.

Credits: Story

All works by Sultana Shamshi for Connexions Exhibition at Galerie Assemblages, 13 - 31 October 2020. All photographs by Rob Frith. Words by Laura Deakin and Melissa Cameron.

Header Image: “Bloody Beautiful Blossoms NO 1 & NO 2” (2019) by Sultana Shamshi, photographed by Rob Frith. (Brooches; antique embroidery, recycled silver.) 

Short Films by VAM Media

Filming & Production: Brendan Hutchens

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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