Ceramic boat – the ocean and the wave

Written by Corinne Ball | January 29th, 2016

Curator Corinne writes about an evocative and favourite artwork:

At the Migration Museum we are lucky to work with writers, artists and many other creative people.  One of my favourite pieces in our collection is this ceramic artwork, which I find interesting on many levels.  It is visually and aesthetically stunning, with beautiful pale blue tones, and simple yet effective design of cloaked women riding in a boat on a wave.  The artwork is about the size of a shoebox, and has a lovely heft to it. The undulating mass of heads inside the boat reflect the waves of the sea, and the tiny figures each with a deftly sketched face are very appealing.

The boat was created by South Australian ceramicist Gerry Wedd, who often uses maritime imagery in his work.  To create this piece, Gerry drew inspiration from Iranian ceramic art depicting ‘moon faced’ or mahury women, as well from media coverage of the 2001 Children Overboard Affair, where refugees were accused of throwing their children into the sea to claim asylum in Australia. Gerry’s work often mixes familiar themes such as the popular blue and white ‘willow pattern’ and familiar images with political messages to create a subversive form of protest.

The artwork was originally loaned to the Migration Museum for the 2012 exhibition ‘Refugees and Australia 1972-2012’, and Gerry later very generously donated it to our permanent collection.  If you’d like to see the boat in person, it is on display in our foyer, until Easter 2016.


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