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Pieces of Gutharraguda (Shark Bay): Jimmy Poland

About Pieces of Gutharraguda (Shark Bay): Jimmy Poland

‘Jimmy’s stories and jewellery making are a part of our Aboriginal cultural history and traditions, which in turn promotes education, understanding and respect…..they are all a unique piece of this spirit country that represents the landscape he grew up in – Gutharraguda (Shark Bay).’ – Darren Capewell

Pieces of Gutharraguda (Shark Bay) is an exhibition that tells the story of Malgana artist Jimmy Poland through material culture and a range of historical sources. Whilst the exhibition focuses on the artistic practice and journey of this well known senior community member, the exhibition also traces the broader social, cultural, economic and historical events that have shaped Shark Bay and Denham, in Western Australia’s picturesque Gascoyne region, through the inclusion of historical objects, photographs and archival material.

The exhibition is the outcome of FORM’s mentorship development program with leading West Australian jeweller and artist Helena Bogucki. This unique artistic development has allowed Jimmy to tell his stories of place, articulating his cultural identity, whilst providing an opportunity for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences to gain insight into life in Shark Bay through the lens of an 86-year-old Malgana elder.

Jimmy has been carving pearl shell, emu eggs and boab nuts for many years – a skill that was passed down from his father to him; he sources materials that are found locally, these reflect not only a sense of place, but also his ability to utilise the resources that are available to him. The incorporation of organic materials reflects not only Jimmy’s spirit of innovation, but also his Aboriginal identity. Jimmy’s carved pearl jewellery brings together the past and present; illustrating the convergence of Shark Bay’s pearling economy, and Malay and Aboriginal heritage and histories.

An exhibition publication is available.

Pieces of Gutharraguda (Shark Bay) exhibited at FORM Gallery Perth from September 6 to October 11. The exhibition showed alongside Relics, Remnants and Remains: Works in leather by Tanija and Graham Carr.

*Images: All artwork featured courtesy of the artist, Jimmy Poland. Workshop and process photographs by Helena Bogucki. Artwork photographs by Bewley Shaylor.

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