Almost half of the world's demand for gold comes from India, and last year $5.7 billion worth of Australian gold was sent to India, more than the worth of coal sent to China. Jewellery has long been a powerful symbol of the West's fascination for India, and today, India continues as the world's largest jewellery market. The wedding season in India is known to affect the world's gold prices as the average family could spend up to $200,000 on jewellery for the wedding; exemplifying its cultural importance. But as well as entrenching class and caste differences, there are initiatives to realise social change in India through re-designing traditional jewellery. This includes both use of non-precious materials and ornament for gender equality. This talk reflects on the emergence of jewellery as an art form today and the role that Australia might play as partner in its development.
About the Lecturer:
Dr Kevin Murray is a craft specialist and coordinator of Sangam: the Australia India Design Platform as part of the Ethical Design Laboratory at RMIT Centre for Design. This three year initiative of the Australia Council develops standards for best practice in design partnerships in the region. In 2000-2007 he was Director of Craft Victoria where he developed the Scarf Festival and the South Project, a four-year program of exchange involving Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Johannesburg. His author with Damian Skinner of Place and Adornment: A History of Australasian Contemporary Jewellery, which will be published this October. Recent touring exhibitions include Joyaviva: Live Jewellery Across the Pacific and Welcome Signs: Contemporary Interpretations of the Garland. He is currently Vice-President of the World Craft Council Asia Pacific Region, online editor for the Journal of Modern Craft and board member of Ethical Metalsmiths. He teaches at VCA University of Melbourne, COFA University NSW and Swinburne University.