Created as a part of Blak Design - a Koorie Heritage Trust initiative to support First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, craftspeople and designers living in Victoria, through a targeted professional development and mentoring program. Developed in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria and RMIT University, and generously supported by the Ian Potter Foundation, the Program aims to foster First Nations cultural innovation within the Victorian design sector underpinned by the International Indigenous Design Charter – Protocols for sharing Indigenous Knowledge in professional design practice.
doedoet: to tie up
doedoet: to tie up is a series of six neck adornments inspired by researching collections and accessing Gulumerridjin (Larrakia) ancestral material culture in the Melbourne Museum, Queensland Museum, and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford UK. The pieces represent the stunning diversity of shapes, styles and techniques present in ancestral fibre practices. The neck adornments draw important references to my family’s mixed Asian, Aboriginal and Anglo-Australian heritage through embedded textures of memory, and the red silk thread ‘ties up’ these overlapping identities. Each object is made using wax casting and has impressions of either an ornamental trim used in sewing (which evokes memories of childhood: handmade clothing and sewing lessons from my mother), or the weft and warp of my first childhood danala (dilly-bag) gifted by my alap (Grandmother). Each texture represents the impact and influence of intergenerational knowledge transfer in my practice. Kumihimo silk cord has been knotted onto each of the silver bags to transform them into a wearable object. Three ‘failed’ casts have been restored with paper from settler-colonial Aboriginal word books. These elements in the series reference the importance of red in my work, as well as my broader practice of restoring and repairing narratives and cultural practices using historic texts written about us without us, as material for transformation. This body of work came about through the expert mentorship of the program, and the desire to create the type of adornment object I personally always wanted. The objects evoke cross-cultural pride that celebrates the ever-present importance of family teachings of culture and craft in my life.
Jenna LEE (Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri) doedoet: to tie up 1–6, 2021 recycled 925 silver, red kumihimo silk cord Collection of the Artist
Photographer Fred Kroh