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Palawa Necklace

by Corrie Fullard

blue maireener shells (oval: 25 cm x 19.5 cm depth 1.7 cm)

On loan to the National Portrait Gallery

Aunty Corrie Fullard was born and raised on Flinders Island in Bass Strait. As a young girl, she watched family members stringing shells to create necklaces and bracelets. Aunty Corrie has actively carried on this tradition, passing to her daughter Jeanette James and other members of her family this ancient continuing cultural practice from lutruwita (Tasmania). Like Lola Greeno and many other Palawa women artists, Aunty Corrie and Jeanette James have exhibited their creations nationally, led shell-stringing workshops, and undertaken residencies in Australia and overseas.

Like many stringers, my earliest memory of the tradition is of being on the beaches collecting shells. It was something we always did as a family. There is an expectation for us, as Aboriginal women responsible for maintaining such an important part of our culture for future generations, to follow cultural protocol: look after Country, understand the environment and how to sustainably collect the shells and protect the seaweed beds. In honour of the elder stringers to uphold the quality of work, it reflects on all of us.

Jeanette James, Palawa

Accession number: LOAN2018.26