Year – 2020
Medium – Acrylic, vau, paua shell, freshwater pearls and kanzawa coloured silver leaf on civa (mother of pearl) shell with custom hook and wall fitting
Dimensions – Civa shell – 11.9 x 11 x 3.2 cm
Hook length – 10 cm
The mother of pearl works (civa in Fijian pronounced th-ee-va) come from a memory of going back to Savusavu for the first time to meet Dad's biological family and being taken out to his cousin's pearl farm in the middle of Savusavu Bay and being dropped off the tin boat into the deep blue water with no seafloor in sight with these big ropes of pearls bobbing around in the ocean and feeling like I was in a completely different world. His family has always been connected to sea, coming from the coastal area, it is a necessity. I was looking at Civavonovono breastplates which were made from civa shell and whale tooth (see below) & combining this with colours and forms from the coral reefs that I love off my Dad's family land along the Hibiscus Highway in Savusavu. I always include something physically from Fiji and Aotearoa in my works - all the shell works have vau (hibiscus fibre) and paua shell embedded underneath the layers. They also each have freshwater pearls and some form of silver or gold leaf used in top layers, adding to their decorative and embellished elements.
Claudia Jowitt (b. 1989) is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa who is of Pākeha and iTaukei, Fijian heritage. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Art and Design (Hons) & Bachelor of Visual Arts from AUT University in Auckland and studied at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been exhibiting both nationally and internationally since first completing her undergraduate degree in 2009 and was the 2016 Tautai Trust Pacific Artist in Residence at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. Her works are included in the Wallace Art Trust and University of Auckland Art Collection as well as numerous private collections. She is represented by Melanie Roger Gallery in Auckland, Bartley + Co. Gallery in Wellington & Artplex Gallery in Los Angeles.