2020 Connexions exhibition, Parcours Bijoux, Galerie Assemblages, Paris
2021 Connexions exhibition, Indian Ocean Craft Triennial, Gallery Central, Perth, Western Australia
The initial idea for Connexions exhibition came to me in response to the Christchurch mass murder in March 2019 in New Zealand. My intention was to present the value of diversity through a cross-section of Australian makers with cross-cultural backgrounds at the international contemporary jewellery festival Parcours Bijoux 2020 in Paris. To achieve this I teamed up with Melissa Cameron for the curation, grants, organisation and planning.
While I was working on my Francaustralian series, other traumatic events occurred in the world that influenced my making: the devastating Australian bushfires in summer 2020, the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matters movement and the Covid-19 pandemic. I asked myself if there was a common thread in these tragic experiences. What stood out for me was the importance of our community, of supporting each other as we find our shared humanity through our vulnerability, as we find empathy for each other beyond our differences. In that sense I see my Francaustralian series as a commentary on my emotional, cultural and sensory experiences as a French-Australian.
The relationship I have with the environment is similar to the one I have with people, with no hierarchy, each part having an equal place in my heart and mind. I yearn for a more balanced world that gives greater value to social and environmental justice, where humans relinquish their quest for domination and profit to start living with a greater sense of respect and communal destiny with all living things on our precious planet.
I expressed my relationship with France through the use of the hexagon shape in chain elements and other parts of my works. France is commonly called “the hexagon” because the map of the country fits into the geometric shape. I made the brooch Francaustralian 3 during the first Covid-19 lockdown and I also call it “French at heart”. I was safe in Western Australia witnessing on the daily news the deadly damage of the first wave of the pandemic in France.
The use of the organic materials I gathered speak of my connection to the Australian land – parts of native plants from my garden, stones of fruits I ate, bone found on the beach and recycled local wood. At the end of their natural life cycle, I gave these materials a second life in my creations. They are burnt but still retain their integrity. I feel for other people and country, what hurts them hurts me, what hurts the animals and plants hurts me. There is a scar on the wood that stands for the scar in my heart. There is no “you” and “me” or “humans” and “plants” and “animals”. There is only “us”, we are all interconnected. In my necklaces the parts articulate with each other in complementarity, in their various shapes and colours. Black and white have equal value, beauty and richness come from diversity. I associate the circles and round pieces in my works to my sense of home in Australia, in respectful reference to the concentric circles the Australian indigenous people use in their artworks to represent a campsite, a fireplace and a meeting place.
I called my series of works “Francaustralian” as a pun from to “Franco-Australian”. As an expatriate and migrant, both identities form who I am today.