This is the catalog for Elegy, which was scheduled for March 10–April 9, 2020 and invited 12 Australian women artists to present jewelry and objects that facilitate mourning for a world in peril. The project asked us to recognize the profound mental and emotional impacts of climate change on individuals and society, and to acknowledge our collective grief by allowing it to be held, carried, and used.
Looking to the elegy through its tradition as a poetic form that follows the recognized stages of loss—lament, praise, and consolation—the artists created works that reflect on the loss of ecology and biodiversity.
As design aims to improve life through its utility, jewelry is uniquely positioned to meet more intrinsic functions by facilitating an internal space and a mode of emotional expression that all humans require. Connected to mourning throughout human history and across cultures, jewelry has been used to carry memory, to make formal and public expressions of grief, and to console. Elegy was not an optimistic project, but neither was it a passive one. These Australian designers face the grief they hold for the world head-on, in order to explore how it may be carried meaningfully and, most importantly, used.