She Speaks Up!

Our desire for beautiful gemstones belies the problematics of their extraction, often environmental or unethically sourced, yet part of a culture of value that goes back thousands of years – the Ancient Egyptians adorned themselves with lapis lazuli, the Mayans used turquoise. Now these stones are becoming rarer and more difficult to mine, as mines close down or internal conflict in Afghanistan or the Congo for example, mean conditions for extraction become more precarious. Formed millions of years ago from the compression of minerals and gases, often under hydrothermal action in rock, these jewels also represent a system of belief, ritual and healing. Turquoise as a healing stone, is thought of bringing tranquility, and protection to the wearer; Lapis Lazuli, strength and courage; Rose Quartz, unconditional love. Just as photography is dependent on mineral histories, and a sense the we (at least until recently) ‘believe’ in the image, and its ability to freeze time, so these gems remind us that we are holding deep time in our hands, and a contested history of value, adornment and excavation.

She Speaks Up! 228 Chingford Mount Road, E4 8JL

1-19th Nov, 8th Nov performances

curated and organised by Sharon Young

Participating artists: Victoria Ahrens, Alice Butler and Gemma Blackshaw with the Dengie Hundred, Hannah Clarkson, Marysa Dowling, Alice Gale Feeny, Adriana Jaros, Nicole Lacey, Rachel Lyons, Nadege Meriau, Liz Murrey, Catherine Morland, Liz Orton, Charan Singh, Sharon Young and Eliza Zmuda

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