Lust for Luster
Touring with Art on the Move and part of the FRINGE WORLD 2021 Program
17 January – 28 February
Rizzy & Gemma Ben-Ary
The pearl is a gem of folklore that has cast its spell upon many throughout history, its nacreous beauty inspiring stories and myths with myriad meanings. Simultaneously a symbol of love and erotica, it is also a symbol of purity and virginity.
In Japanese mythology pearls are said to be the tears of mermaids. In Persian legend, pearls were said to be formed during the collision of thunder and lighting. For the Chinese, black pearls symbolise wisdom. Ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra demonstrated her abundant wealth and power to Mark Anthony by dissolving a pearl earring in vinegar and drinking it, claiming that she could devour the wealth of a nation in a single sip. That’s quite a party trick. Closer to home, the Yawuru of Broome have a long history of pearling and shell-trading, and were later enslaved by the pearling industry, adding layers of complexity to their sacred relationship with pearls and pearl shell. There is also the tricky question of ethics and animal consumption, with many still speculating whether pearls are vegan.
This exhibition explored our love and fascination for the pearl, offering a juicy selection of freshly shucked artworks created by WA visual artists.