Liane Rossler, ex-director of Dinosaur Designs and co-founder of Happy Talk kindly opened Joyaviva at UTS Gallery Sydney on the last night of July 2012.
Thank you for inviting me to open this very special exhibition.
Joyaviva means live jewellery, and it has been fascinating to walk around the show with Kevin and hear the stories about each piece. I love the quote ‘what can you pin your hopes on?’
Some of the pieces in the show might be very small, but they are still very powerful. They are a way to connect people. Each one was made with a deep intention, and they are designed with possibility and action in mind.
As a curator, Kevin has been connecting countries across the latitude from South America to the Pacific, and looked at all the ways that different cultures engage in traditions.
In each particular place, people have different needs of luck, different hopes and fears. From early times, we have created ways to share our fears and concerns with others. Often this was an amulet or talisman to protect us. Some concerns like love and good health are eternal, while others change and evolve. In the early days, people were concerned about the harvest or the afterlife, while these days we have concerns such as how we will do in our exams or how we’ll go in a job interview.
The value and the importance of the objects doesn’t come from the materials, such as gold and diamonds that we usually associate with valuable jewellery, but from the story, which in this case is more important. It relates to the Yiddish expression: ‘Better an ounce of luck than a pound of gold’. It makes us reconsider what is valuable.
This jewellery is quiet and personal, and is often worn unseen or under your clothing. It’s a quiet power, and one that might only be known to the wearer or the giver of the work.
Often the maker of the work is very thoughtful and contemplative when making the piece, and through the thoughts that they embody in the piece, they have the capacity to give somebody something when they really need it.
This exhibition shows objects just at their beginning. Many pieces are out in the world collecting stories. Some have been written about on the Luck bank, another part of the Joyaviva project, where people submit stories and then they can then get their luck back with interest. Luck is renewable, free, and available to all, but the best way to get good luck is to share good luck.
There are so many unique and interesting experiences covered in this exhibition, and I encourage you to read each one and then some of the follow up stories.
There is a beautiful fertility symbol made from a tactile river stone cut into two, where you put some cotton wool and a seed and in it, and it sprouts life.
Katherine Yeats has made charms for preschoolers, which are made from blankets and wood and are designed to be held. They are given to young children when they have mastered a special task like getting dressed by themselves or learning to ride their bike. They’re a way of protection and encouragement and giving confidence.
I’m wearing my Maryann Talia Pau Power Sista pendant tonight, which were she designed to give to friends, and be worn when someone in the circle needs collective encouragement. Knowing you are in a network of friends gives you strength. I’m also thinking of Maryann tonight as she couldn’t be with us.
Alice Whish has made a series of sand, and each one has sand melted onto it that has been collected from the beach. They are designed to make children feel brave and calm when they are doing their Naplan tests.
Blanche Tilden piece – jewellery is traditionally about holding onto gold. She collected her filings over 15 years and made them into an ingot. You rub it with a little file to create a shower of gold.
On the wall – This too shall pass by Sarah Read from NZ. You buy a piece for $10 and when you remove the card, it reveals a gold wall, so as well as spreading good thoughts that bad things will pass, Sarah aims to create a gold wall. Make sure you buy one..
Walka Studio from Chile have made a Cornucopia piece which is about social and sharing environments. They create great nights, and then people take away a piece to remember and cherish the occasion of good times.
So thank you all from coming. I congratulate Kevin, the artists and everyone involved in this project.
I hope you take away something tonight, even if it is only a thought, that will be a happy memory from this exhibition.
Joyaviva continues in Sydney until the end of August 2012.