Jenna Lee

Jenna Lee — 'Body Language #1' 2021


Jenna Lee is a mixed-race Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri woman whose contemporary art practice explores the acts of identity/identification, label/labelling and the relationships formed between language, label and object.

Being a Queer, Asian (Japanese, Chinese and Filipino), Anglo Australian, Aboriginal Woman, Lee’s practice is strongly influenced by her overlapping identities, childhood memory as well as maternal teachings of subject and process.

Body Language
18 May - 19 June 2021
Members Vitrine Gallery

...those who are in search for names for houses, children, boats and other purposes, will find a rich treasury of words native to their own land...

While simultaneously being dispossessed from our land and waters, and having children stolen, our words were served up with no connection to people or place in the form of ‘Aboriginal’ word-list dictionaries. This new series of paper-based cultural vessels presented in Body Language explores the relationships between cultural objects and adornments as an extension of the body; the body itself as an extension of country and language; and country, language and body as elemental factors of connection and healing.

Using pages of ‘Aboriginal Words and Place Names’, Body Language presents three-body adornment vessels with complimentary dilly bags, embellished with red silk thread and glass beads. The use of red silk drawn from personal cross-cultural heritage and families histories relating to Asian migration to Australia due to the pearling industry boom in the early 1900s. The use of these materials as embellishment for the transformed paper featuring Aboriginal languages and words for place, seeks to assert value not on the material but on the process and knowledge embedded within the forms.

Materials: Pages of ‘Aboriginal Words and Place Names’, Bookbinding thread, silk

Dimensions: approx. 70cm x 40cm

Please note this work is part of Jenna Lee's Body Language exhibition now showing at Craft in the Members Vitrine Gallery until 19 June 2021. Purchased works will be available after this date.

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