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.


Related blog posts

Food for thought: World Refugee Day 2020

Posted on Wednesday 17 June 2020

June 20 is World Refugee Day, an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It celebrates the strength an...

Read this post

Temporary Closure

Posted on Monday 20 November 2023

Dear Migration Museum Visitors,   We wish to advise of a temporary public closure at the History Trust of South Australia’s Migration ...

Read this post

Museum Closed 1 – 4 April 2022

Posted on Tuesday 29 March 2022

Museum Closed We wish to advise of a temporary public closure at the History Trust of South Australia’s Migration Museum to facilitate essential...

Read this post

Exciting changes to our Nineteenth century galleries

Posted on Monday 10 May 2021

The nineteenth century galleries at the Migration Museum are closing temporarily from Tuesday 11 May until mid – late 2022. Other galleries in t...

Read this post