BLAK JEWELLERY: FINDING PAST · LINKING PRESENT
The Koorie Heritage Trust presented Blak Jewellery – Finding Past Linking Present, a contemporary jewellery design exhibition by 11 Victorian First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants from the inaugural year of the KHT’s Blak Design Program. The Blak Design Program is a ground-breaking four-year professional development program to support First Nations cultural innovation within the Victorian design sector and provide a platform for nurturing long term sustainable, First Nations design practices.
In the inaugural year of the program which ran over 2020 and 2021, the participants undertook intensive practical hands-on and professional development workshops with creative industry leaders in business, design and marketing. A key output is the creation of the bespoke crafted contemporary jewellery pieces anchored by connections to culture, Country and family being showcased in Blak Jewellery.
Participating First Nations artists: Ange Jeffery (Wiradjuri), Aunty Beverley Meldrum (Wirangu, Kokatha), Cassie Leatham (Taungurung), Hollie Johnson (Gunaikurnai, Monero Ngarigo), Isobel Morphy-Walsh (Taun Wurrung), Jenna Lee (Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri), Kait James (Wadawurrung), Lisa Waup (Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander), Sandy Hodge (Lardil), Sharn Geary (Bundjalung) and Aunty Suzanne Connelly-Klidomitis (Wiradjuri).
The Blak Design Program involved four weeks of an intensive jewellery making course created and delivered by established contemporary jewellers Blanche Tilden and Laura Deakin, with technical assistance from Lindy McSwan. We wish to acknowledge RMIT University who generously provided the use of their jewellery studios enabling the participants to work on their pieces. We also acknowledge the outstanding support and mentoring provided by Blanche, Laura and Lindy.