Curator: Kay Lawrence
Artists: Kay Lawrence, Butcher Jo Nangan, Aubrey Tigan
The exhibition explores the uses and meaning of pearl shell harvested and traded from the Dampier Peninsula in northwest Western Australia in the early 20c. The luminescence of pearl shell is seen as a sign for water for many Indigenous Australian groups in north western and central Australia, and a sign for life in Christian iconography. However, the exploitative practices of the pearl shell industry in the late 19c and early 20c, meant pearl shell also became a sign for death. The work in the exhibition, made by artists, Kay Lawrence, Butcher Jo Nangan and Aubrey Tigan draw on the materiality and metaphorical connotations of pearl shell to explores these ideas.
Pearl shell from South Australian Museum and private collection
Pearl shells by Butcher Joe Nangan
Pearl shells by Aubrey Tigan