The Millennium Public Art Gallery is the first venue for the national tour of forged, Johanna Zellmer’s fascinating exhibition of two interconnected bodies of contemporary jewellery work. Forged comprises 60 pieces; framed photographic portraits paired with passport booklets plus small coinscapes. So far these bodies of work have only been shown separately in Europe; one in Germany at the Hanau Museum’s The German Goldsmiths' House, and the other in Italy at the contemporary jewellery school Alchemia in Florence, as part of the international collaboration place_ment. This body of work questions whether the many hybrid identities of our contemporary culture can be embodied in a single object. Immigrants to New Zealand who are unable to obtain dual citizenship, were interviewed and photographed by Johanna. Jewellery ‘aids’ made from cut and forged coin emblems emerged as Johanna’s response to the interviewee’s situation and were specifically made for each participant, to whom they will be returned.
Johanna Zellmer completed a Masters degree at the Australian National University Canberra School of Art and a formal apprenticeship as a Goldsmith in Germany. As Senior Lecturer in Jewellery & Metalsmithing, she also co-ordinates the Artist-in-Residence programme at the Dunedin School of Art. Her research interests are the construction of national identities and cross-cultural matters within contemporary Jewellery and Metalsmithing. She calls a small farm in Dunedin ‘home’. Her most recent research project has been included in the TVONE series Neighbourhood, Episode 10: North Dunedin. Johanna has an impressive exhibition and publication history.