Anna Davern, Expedition Leader. object, articulated carriage, copper, printed steel, re-worked biscuit tin, silver chain, 300x120x45mm
Anna Davern brings contemporary jewellery to life, creating a mechanised diorama manipulated by handles, cranks and pulleys to play out a fantastical narrative. The diorama features a fictional retelling of colonial exploration in a strange, altered landscape - fused with the pomp and ceremony of Elizabethan tradition. Characters and props can be removed and worn as individual jewellery pieces or displayed as objects. Using images of kitsch Australiana found on old biscuit tins and historical imagery printed on to metal, Anna examines the idea of “Australian-ness”. Rearranging and reconstructing the images, Anna creates hybrid creatures and alternative tableaux: both as cultural commentary and as humorous acknowledgement of the hybrid nature of contemporary Australian society.
How did you come to making?
In my early 20’s I was attempting to pursue a career in film and television and doing some short courses in life drawing and jewellery making in my spare time. I pretty soon worked out that my desire to make ‘things’ outweighed my desire to make films, although an element of story telling still informs my practice. I started at Sydney College of the Arts when I was 24 and haven't looked back.
What difficulties do you face in your practice?
Finding time to make all of the things I want to make. Finding a balance between the different aspects of my practice. Being organised enough to get that grant application/exhibition application in on time.
How would you describe your working process?
Haphazard! I don’t draw very much and tend to make models rather than sketches. My brain is much more suited to constructing forms from building blocks, rather than carving forms from building blocks.
What is the evolution of this exhibition?
It has been an enormous learning curve as I am working on a much bigger scale than I am used to. I love making objects that encourage physical engagement with them by the incorporation of movement or having removable pieces. With the diorama it is the same but the engineering involved with having interactive elements on this scale has been very challenging.
Who's work do you find inspiring right now?
Lucien Shapiro. So free and prolific.