Bringing the past into the future: welcome to 2018 at Craft ACT

Craft ACT launched its artistic program for 2018 last night with the joint opening of Emerging Contemporaries and Death of a Craft. The large crowd was captivated by the woven strands of knowledge and enthusiasm in the opening speech by Kevin Murray, Secretary of the World Crafts Council Australia, Managing Editor of Garland Magazine, independent writer and curator. 

Emerging Contemporaries features new work from the artists, makers and designers who were selected for the annual Craft ACT Emerging Artists Award from the Australian National University School of Art and Design, the University of Canberra Industrial Design program, the Canberra Institute of Technology fashion and visual arts programs, the Canberra Potters Society and the Sturt School for Wood.

ANU School of Art + Design: Christine Appleby (Textiles),  Jeremy Brown (Furniture),  Madeline Cardone (Glass), Nikki Chopra (Ceramics), and Da Ye Kim and Nyx Mathews (Gold & Silversmithing).

Canberra Institute of Technology: Jenny Blake (Visual Arts) and Ryan Fisher (Fashion)

University of Canberra Industrial Design: Grace Maguire 

ACT Potters Society:  Paul Dumetz and Katrina Leske

Sturt: Reuben Daniel and Jun Rung

A major feature of the exhibition is a stunning array of contemporary jewellery (above) produced by artists in the Indigenous Jewellery Project: Marrnyula Munuŋgurr, Mothara Wirrpanda, Yarrmiya Wanambi, Mitjmitj Munuŋgurr, Yinitjuwa Yunupingu, Dhawulunbulun Mununggurr, Rerrkirrwaŋa Munuŋgurr, Gulalay #1 Wunuŋmurra, Munuy’ŋu Marika, Wirilpa #1 Yunupingu, Birrpunu #2 Yunupiŋu, and Ganaparra Gurruwiwi. 

In his speech, Kevin Murray talked about the way that the past could be regarded as part of the future by paying close attention to traditional craft processes, but in a way that brings them firmly into the contemporary. Preservation of tradition without innovation equals petrification and a loss of engagement, he suggested. He used Sharon People's work as a good example: she interrogates lacemaking through the notion of how lacing works as a verb. She embroiders foliage laced through bodies, or items used by bodies, but her choice of plant means that the works are theoretically also laced with poison (below: Laced with Oleander, 2017).

Emerging Contemporaries and Death of a Craft run until 2 March 2018. Feedback from the opening was enthusiastic, so don't miss out on seeing them for yourself. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram feeds (@craftact) for more images and stories about the exhibitions. 

(All photographs are by @5footphotography)