Monday 6 July 2009

The World of Small Things

Our current exhibition The World of Small Things here in Gallery 1 is a lovingly curated affair. Put together by former Craft Victoria Director Kevin Murray, the exhibition is an exploration of collaborative work between Australian makers and the rest of the world. A creative pen-pal if you like!

Some of the collaborations include glassworker Jonathan Baskett's partnership with Mexican glass workshop Nouvel Studio, ceramacist Janet DeBoos' collaboration with the Huaguang Zibo Bone China factory in Shandong and Cheryl Adam's plastic florettes made by Filipino 'bat people', a term used to describe the impoverished population in Manila.

Bowls produced by Jonathan Baskett in Nouvel Studio, a Mexican glass workshop, while in the process of designing $2,500 bottles of tequila.

Teapot designed by Karl Millard while working with Ravissant, an Indian silverware company.

And now the exhibition description:

From outside Australia, from places we sometimes fear, come ingenious and finely crafted objects. And from inside Australia, objects are being designed and made for the growing markets in India and China.

The world is turning inside out. The global financial crisis has set the world in flux, enabling new relations between rich and poor countries. The collapse of an over-leveraged financial market helps us appreciate the immediacy of hand-crafted objects. These 'small things' bypass the rarefied world of brands and the politics of trade restrictions. New craft-design collaborations herald an era of partnership between rich and poor countries, urgently needed for the success of the Kyoto Protocol.

Underneath the complex web of international relations is a free flow of precious things; objects from Palestinian refugee camps in Southern Lebanon, the Kashmir, Iran, India, Mexico, Philippines, East Timor, Rwanda and Papua New Guinea.

How much does the origin of an object contribute to its value? Can craft connect cultures in ways that formal diplomacy can't? What are we purchasing when we buy an object made by a community that we support morally? These are questions that designer-makers of the world pose for us today.

Swamp grass (papyrus) jewellery by German jeweller Martina Dempf in collaboration with Rwandan weavers Dafan Mukantabashwa, Virginie Uwizeyimana, Pelagie Nyirahabineza, Alphonsine Urayeneza and Valentine Nyirakimonyo.

Participants include Cheryl Adam, Souad Amin, Jonathan Baskett, Cath Braid, Janet deBoos, Martina Dempf, Carole Douglas, Hlengiwe Dube, Judy Frater, Cathy Kata, Karl Millard, Asfaneh Modiramani, Sara Niner and Sara Thorn. Curated by Kevin Murray.

The World of Small Things is part of 2009 State of Design Festival’s public and cultural program, Design for Everyone.

Bags made from plastic bags made by Tejsi Dhana (India) and his family of the Megwhal community known for Kharad traditional weaving. Produced in collaboration with Carole Douglas (Australia).

To view more images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook album.

The World of Small Things runs until 25 July.

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