Gris Gris. Modern Traditions in Jewellery Design

Exhibition  /  03 Sep 2017  -  05 Nov 2017
Published: 25.08.2017

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All over the world, jewellery conveys and connects traditions and stories, memories and customs. Worn on the body, it invites communication. The way in which jewellery carries special and extraordinary meaning - tells a unique story - is beautifully shown in the exhibition GrisGris, which is staged in CODA Museum Apeldoorn from 3 September to 5 November 2017 inclusive. GrisGris explores the origins, value and meaning of jewellery in various cultures. With their research and designs, twelve jewellery artists and six students of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design - translated this traditional jewellery to the present. 

Artist list

Bojanne Aleksic, Bas Bouman, Daniela Hedman, Hanna Hedman, Kalkidan Hoex, Peter Hoogeboom, ​Anke Huyben, Chequita Nahar, Noon Passama, Elwy Schutten, Rob Stoffels, Tara Velting, Moniek Vierling, Francis Willemstijn, Sanni Yerna, Sangji Yun, Michelle Zwinkels, Marit van Heumen
Decorating and adorning are age-old pursuits. In virtually every culture, jewellery carries great communicative meaning and conveys information about the wearer's status, origins, ethnic background, faith and taste. Wearers communicate with jewellery; they deck themselves out with it, derive power or protection from it, the jewellery refers to a memory or offers comfort. Jewellery can be part of a person's everyday attire or is used specifically to mark special occasions like birth, death, initiation, weddings or religious ceremonies. Jewellery represents personal, emotional, social, religious and economic values. 

Even in a globalised world, people still feel it is important to express themselves through clothes and jewellery, as a way of confirming or reinforcing their own ethnicity, nationality or identity. Although traditions play an important role here, they are also subject to change and at risk of disappearing. The same goes for jewellery representing these traditions. At the same time, there is a need for change and new, contemporary forms of expression that convey the shifting cultural identity. How to blend the past and the present in new adornments that heed existing traditions yet also have a story to tell to future generations? At the invitation of curators Karin van Paassen, Chequita Nahar and CODA director Carin Reinders, the selected artists and students in the GrisGris exhibition designed a piece or a collection of jewellery based on this question. For their designs, they let themselves be inspired by the collections of the Wereldmuseum and CODA Museum. Within the context of GrisGris, the jewellery artists are the storytellers and connectors. They are the translators of traditions into a new generation of jewellery with a strong visual quality and communicative capacity. A selection of jewellery from the Wereldmuseum is included in the exhibition. 

The exhibition title GrisGris has its roots in Africa, where the grisgris amulet is an important artefact that wards off evil and brings happiness. This pouch, made of fabric or leather and containing small religious objects and a text, is worn on the skin. For the millions of people who are adrift at the moment, such traditional jewellery acquires new meaning because it connects them to their distant motherland. 

GrisGris is an initiative of Karin van Paassen, Chequita Nahar and Carin Reinders and shows the work of twelve artists and designers (Anke Huyben, Bas Bouman, Chequita Nahar, Daniela Hedman, Francis Willemstijn, Hanna Hedman, Noon Passama, Peter Hoogeboom, Sangji Yun, Elwy Schutten, Marit van Heumen and Moniek Vierling) and six students (Bojanne Aleksic, Kalkidan Hoex, Rob Stoffels, Tara Velting, Sanni Yerna and Michelle Zwinkels).

GrisGris was made possible with the support of the Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds.
Bas Bouman. Necklace: Gregory, 2017. Wood, iron, bone, walnut, peach, apple, jet, leather, hair, fabric, dirt.. Bas Bouman
Necklace: Gregory, 2017
Wood, iron, bone, walnut, peach, apple, jet, leather, hair, fabric, dirt.
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Marit van Heumen, Suggestive Jewelery.
Marit van Heumen, Suggestive Jewelery

© By the author. Read Copyright.