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Exhibition and book release celebrate New Zealand’s leading contemporary jeweler

Exhibition and book release celebrate New Zealand’s leading contemporary jeweler

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Made in Aotearoa: Jewellery by Alan Preston showcases one of New Zealand's greatest artisans, whose desire to create a “jewellery of this place” saw him spearhead a movement in favour of materials from Aotearoa and the Pacific.

The exhibition opens on Saturday, 7 March in Auckland Museum's Pacific Masterpieces Gallery; a gallery featuring the very collections that inspired Preston's creative output.

In the late 1970's Alan Preston abandoned western jewellery making traditions in favour of locally found materials and techniques. From delicate shell necklaces to politically charged sovereignty badges, Preston began crafting beautiful objects with symbolic meaning. The exhibition features some of his most riveting work, much of it influenced and discovered between the tides and inspired by artefacts at Auckland Museum.

“Alan Preston has provided many New Zealanders with the means to express their unique identity. This exhibition celebrates the significant role he has played in capturing and leading an indigenous zeitgeist,” says Dr Vanda Vitali, Director of Auckland War Memorial Museum.

“Made in Aotearoa traces Preston's early use of paua, through to an extraordinary range of new works created in response to the foreshore debate and the passing of the Māori Queen. It's significant his pieces will be exhibited here, at the Museum that inspired so much of his creativity.”

The opening of the exhibition will coincide with the launch of the book Between Tides, on 10 March. The book, published by Random House, is the first ever survey of Alan's work and also one of the few historical surveys of a contemporary New Zealand jeweller.

Between Tides: Jewellery by Alan Preston is strikingly designed with a compelling essay by Damian Skinner, one of New Zealand's best-known art writers whose recent books include a monograph on Don Binney and a major work on the art of Maori carving. 

The book launch will take place in Auckland Museum's Pacific Masterpieces Gallery.