Gathering Space: Ngargee Djeembana

featured in the exhibiton:
Who is Afraid of Public Space?

 at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) 

2021 - 2022

In 2021, while I was at Anchor Ceramics, we were invited to contribute a material response to the installation: Gathering Space as a part of a larger exhibition on view at ACCA and later acquired by the NGV. This inivitation provided me with the opportunity to create a ceramic 

Artistic Director Max Delany, Curator-at-Large Annika Kristensen and Senior Curator Miriam Kelly
Installation photography by Andrew Curtis. Commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 2022. 

All other content is the copyright of Anchor Ceramics.

Gathering Space: Ngargee Djeembana is a project curated by Senior Boonwurrung Elder N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM and Palawa built environment practitioner Sarah Lynn Rees. The installation was created in response to a curatorial invitation by ACCA to develop a gathering space for art, performance, and the exchange of ideas.

The exhibition comprises a series of plinths and stacks of materials, indigenous to the state of Victoria including timber, stone, brick, ceramic, leather, glass, and water. The layout reflects local Koorie patternations derived from nature. Anchor was invited to contribute a ceramic material to the installation.

Aunty N’arweet Carolyn Briggs and Sarah Lynn Rees’ project explores the indigeneity of the materials that make up our public spaces and asks what it might mean to create ‘the sense of connection and belonging that people feel with place’.

We took this invitation as an opportunity to audit the supply chains of our own materials. On review, we determined that one of our production clay bodies was made from majority Victorian mined materials. Our supplier, Walker Ceramics, confirm that the body comprises raw materials such as Kaolin from Pittong, Victoria, Ball Clay from Axedale, Victoria, and Silica from Lang Lang, Victoria among other raw materials sourced internationally.

There is an idea that ceramics and clay are earthbound and have strong ties to the specific place where they are made but increasingly many of our raw materials are being sourced from international suppliers.

Our material response to the exhibition was built on Anchor’s ongoing research into the utilisation of waste materials in ceramics. By mixing clay with a locally produced waste by-product from one of our fabricators, the resulting pieces seek to communicate a quality of place through the materiality of making - both in terms of the materials we source and the materials we generate.

It is for that reason too, that we made one of the clay slabs with a line reflecting the path of the Merri Creek. Geographically, this line connects the location of the Anchor studio with the production site of the waste material additive. More broadly, the line references the waste material added to the clay body and touches on water systems as a historical means of moving materials from one site to another.

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