Red, brown & black seed beads on brown silk
The Indigenous Jewellery Project (IJP) is a nation-wide Indigenous Australian contemporary jewellery project, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned art centres across Australia, comprising research, workshops, photography, films, and exhibitions.
The Indigenous Jewellery Project was created by McCulloch & McCulloch co-director Emily McCulloch Childs in order to
-help traditional Indigenous jewellers maintain, develop and upskill their practice, through workshops with IJP founding curator/project manager Emily McCulloch Childs and contemporary jewellery teachers
-work towards exhibitions in both Aboriginal art galleries and Contemporary Craft galleries, in both the commercial and public gallery sectors
-educate public perception about the significance of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander jewellery, through research and documentation and through helping jewellers maintain traditional jewellery knowledge, and the Aboriginal art industry about contemporary jewellery as a significant category of art practice
-create a space for existing and developing Indigenous jewellers to maintain and develop their practice in a professional capacity
-introduce new skills and mediums to help jewellers develop their practice
-help bring the worlds of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art and contemporary craft closer together
-where appropriate to connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous jewellers and curators to work together in a mutually fulfilling and culturally appropriate way
IJP works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned art centres across Australia. To date these have included Erub Erwer Meta in the Torres Strait Islands, Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, Ernabella Arts in the APY Lands, South Australia and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka in Yirrkala, NE Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.
We have run workshops with artist Kate Rohde and contemporary jeweller Melinda Young and been involved in over 12 exhibitions including at the JamFactory, Adelaide, Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, National Contemporary Jewellery Award, Griffith Regional Gallery and touring to Sturt Centre for Design, NSW, Stanley Street Galleries, Sydney, Craft ACT, Canberra, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
The latest IJP project is the Bulay(i) Project, with Buku-Larrnggay Mulka in Yirrkala, North East Arnhem Land. Bulay(i), meaning rich jewellery, gold, precious stones, bronze treasure (Yolŋu Matha language), is the first contemporary jewellery project held at this prestigious, internationally renowned art centre. Three workshops have been held with contemporary jeweller and UNSW lecturer Melinda Young, comprising a total of around 35 Yolngu jewellers.
The project has included upskilling of traditional seed and shell bead jewellery, documentation, research and development, and introduction to new material skills such as lost wax for metals.
The Bulay(i) Project was exhibited at the Australian Design Centre, Sydney, as part of the inaugural Sydney Craft Week, debuting in October 2017: https://australiandesigncentre.com/explore-promo/past-exhibitions-and-events/bulayi/.
The Indigenous Jewellery Project has been supported from assistance by:
Australian Government Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support/Australia Council for the Arts
Country Arts SA
The Australian Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts program.
(information courtesy of Emily McCulloch Childs)