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A gem older than the Indian Ocean

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

This gem is the centre of a series of works I am preparing for Counterpoint, an exhibition in the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial, to be held at Stala Contemporary 3-19 November 2021.

Connecting a through-line from the mineral substances of the earth, through to tributary forms of the living planet, and on to the aestethic perceptions of humans, my artistic expression generally draws attention to the preciousness of our living planet and our role in preserving it. As people appreciate jewellery through sight and touch, an intimate connection is forged with our living world.

I am a migrant to Australia from Flanders in Belgium, which informs my artistic practice and response to the theme. Anchored in Fremantle. Wallyalup I feel a duty and possibility to protect this ancient habitat. The ritual of walking coastal bushland, beaches and swimming above kelp and sargassum seaweed inspires to create, cast, forge and adorn. In a series of works particularly for this JMGA WA exhibition as part of the IOCT, I intend to celebrate our precious, and threatened biodiversity along the Southwest coast of Australia.

I express the preciousness using silver and gold, and use precious stones and minerals collected around the Indian Ocean, in Africa in particular where I worked and lived for over eight years before moving to Australia. I am working with an intriguing and precious cluster of watermelon tourmalines and quartzes from Zambia and will combine them with West Australian flora and fauna forms cast in precious metals.

Our view on the Indian Ocean is distorted by our own position, migrant, settler, trying to make sense of today’s priotities in view of climate change, to honour the past while preserving the present for the future of all.

Image: Tineke Van der Eecken, Birth of Gondwana Neckpiece, 2021. Fine silver, tourmaline and quartz crystal with silver castings of acacia, python vertebrae, kangaroo tooth. Photo Yasmin Studio

More images and information will be posted on the JMGA WA website page for Counterpoint.

Tineke Van der Eecken

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