Chain Reaction – The Opening

Chain reactions open at artisan: idea skill product in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Chain Reaction opens at artisan: idea skill product in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Photography Christina Waterson.

The Chain Reaction opening was a fantastic gathering of diverse creative practitioners and excited guests. It was absolutely jam-packed with people and abuzz with a fabulous energy.

Anna and Elie Moubarouk with Her Honour the Governess of Queensland Penelope Winslet.

The beautiful Emma and Elie Moubarak with the Governor of Queensland, Ms Penelope Wensley AC. Photography Christina Waterson.

Before the formal proceedings three artists within one of the branches of the chain gave artist talks. They included Christina Waterson (artist and designer), Abe Muriata (painter and potter, traditional rainforest shield maker and self-taught weaver) and Brian Robinson (multi-skilled contemporary artist, whose practice includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and design). Here I share with you my introduction to Abe Muriata:

Elie Moubarak rang me out of the blue to let me know he’d nominated me for the Chain Reaction exhibition. It made my day – in fact it made my month! Thank you Elie. When he rang I was actually meticulously cutting up and painting hundreds of pieces of cardboard, and assembling them into my work Celestial Analogue.

Elie is a talented individual (Gerard’s Bistro, Laruche and Lychee Lounge; designer, maker and engineer) who brings other talented and unique people together through his diverse projects. Chain Reaction is one of those exciting projects.

It was lovely to speak with Elie. I got to hear about the interesting things he’d been working on and I shared mine. So often practitioners work away in their studios and don’t get the chance to hear how their work affects people or what other practitioners are up to. Chain Reaction opened up those lines of communication.

Making my choices of who I was going to nominate in the chain was easy. I followed my gut instinct. Ringing them was the hard thing. I had such respect for my selected practitioners, so was pretty nervous about calling them out of the blue.

I first developed a love of Bi-cornial baskets when I worked on the Story Place exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery in 2003. Bi-cornial baskets or Jawans are traditionally woven by women. Abe is the only man to weave them and he brings exceptional skill, precision and material sensitivity to each of his works.

When I rang Abe Muriata and told him how much I respected him and his work  I cried – mainly because I was sharing quite personal thoughts on how I’ve loved living with one of his works for the past 10 years. Thank you Abe.

I wondered why I hadn’t gotten in touch before – why I hadn’t sent an email or called Abe or the Girrigun Aboriginal Arts Centre to let him know.

I would like to sincerely thank the team at artisan for envisioning Chain Reaction and opening up those lines of communication. I look forward to meeting all of the Chain Reaction creative practitioners and hearing about their inspirational works and links.

Thank you!

Christina Waterson, Chain Reaction Opening, 20 February 2013

Barbara Heath and Malcolm Enright's exquisite work.

Barbara Heath and Malcolm Enright’s exquisite work. Photography Christina Waterson.

Opening up lines of communication.

Open lines of communication. Photography Christina Waterson.

I loved meeting Chain Reaction creatives Abe Muriata, Emily Murray, Brian Robinson, Rebecca Ward and Remo Vallance.

I regret I didn’t meet every Chain Reaction artist on the night. I have made it my personal mission to get in touch with each of them to say hello!

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