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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Mah Rana

My research interests include:
Contemporary Art Jewellery; employing traditional and new technologies and materials; photography and text; issues of value; communication; personal and collective histories.

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Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Jewellery is Life
The design of this solo exhibition needed to reflect the integrity of the ideas behind the jewellery, and I was in an unusual position as a jeweller to be given an exhibition space of 190sq ft. The display and presentation of the work was designed to involve and choreograph the public’s movement within the whole space of the gallery. This was the first opportunity that I have had to use the display of the work as an essential element of the body of work; to the communicate themes and issues that I am working with. It was also an opportunity to reflect on my previous practice, to challenge perceived notions of jewellery and to include the public in discussion around the question, "Why do we wear jewellery?"
The work reflects the importance of owning, giving and wearing jewellery throughout our lives. Pieces presented in the exhibition dated from 1996 to 2000 alongside specially commissioned pieces for the exhibition.

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Outcome 2 - Where Do I Go From Here?
In this lecture, delivered at the Challenging Craft conference, I presented the increasing importance of the relationship that I was building with the public through the Meanings and Attachments project. From this project I was building a photographic, written and verbal record of hundreds of individuals’ personal relationships with their jewellery, which in turn revealed personal relationships with people, places and time.
Each event in Meanings and Attachments takes on its own persona, but often the experience is a very social one, in that strangers will start comparing stories and experiences with each other.
This project intensifies and validates the issues that are explored in my own jewellery work, asserting that jewellery is essential to us, whether it be as an individual or as a social group or society.

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Outcome 3 - Meanings and Attachments - MIMA Commission
This event was staged over a period of two weeks, working most days, and the intention was to photograph and talk to individuals in Middlesbrough in their own social environment. It was also the intention that the images would have a cinematic quality that would reflect the story telling aspect of the photograph.
By using Adshell billboards in the shopping precincts of Middlesbrough, the work explored the notion of public and private display. This aspect was also present in the use of the calendar format as another method of display and dissemination of ideas. The calendar includes an artist essay I never take it off.
During the 2 week time period of the project, another form of dissemination took place in the form of the adoption of page 7 in the Evening Gazette, where each day, a different image and text was printed that related to the Adshell exhibition.

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Outcome 4 - An Individual and Collective Journey
An Individual and Collective Journey further explores the nature of inheriting of jewellery through a family lineage. When we inherit jewellery we accept someone else’s taste, aspirations and memories, the selection of a piece based on its design is a process that is removed, already attributed to another.
For this project an ancestor or relative is identified, and using one troy ounce of pure gold, I make a piece of jewellery that I have inherited from them. I am photographed wearing the jewellery, the jewellery will then be melted, ready to be remade into another piece of inherited jewellery and so the process continues. Both the search for ancestors and the one troy ounce of pure gold are inexhaustible.

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