Mari Funaki was an internationally acclaimed contemporary jewellery designer and maker. She was born in Matsue, Japan and moved to Australia in 1979. After completing her studies in Painting and Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT University in Melbourne, she opened Gallery Funaki in 1995 to promote national and international contemporary jewellery.
There was a strong personal visual language in Funaki’s own work – her jewellery and objects expressed how she saw the world around her. She worked very intuitively, using mild steel and gold to make brooches, bracelets, rings and objects – each piece imbued with a sense mystery and surprise.
She was particularly interested in the interplay between negative and positive volume and spaces, the juxtaposition between inside and outside.
Funaki passed away in May 2010. She was a unique and passionate advocate for contemporary jewellery in Australia, both through her own remarkable practice and her establishment and directorship of Gallery Funaki.
This award celebrates Funaki’s legacy by rewarding the talents of jewellers here and overseas by providing a platform for outstanding new work to be shown in Australia.
A panel of three judges will award prizes in both the established and emerging categories – with total prize money of AU$11,000 – including Warwick Freeman, New Zealand jeweller and recipient of the Francoise van den Bosch Prize (2002) and the Bayerischer Staatpreis ‘Modern Classic’ (2013).
Also on the panel is Simon Cottrell, Australian jeweller and educator and acting head of the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop at ANU, Canberra, as well as Julie Ewington, Australian art specialist with 40 years’ experience as an academic, writer and curator, and most recently Curatorial Manager at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, and winner this year with an Australia Council for the Arts Visual Arts Award.
The Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery is supported by Vivienne and Leo Donati, Johannes Hartfuss and Fabian Jungbeck. The award-winning works will be exhibited at Gallery Funaki in Melbourne in a major exhibition in August–September 2014.
Applications close 18 June 2014 at 11.59 pm Australian eastern Standard Time. Enter the Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewellery.