Lola Greeno’s work represents the contemporary continuation of an ancient cultural practice – she learnt how to make neckpieces from shells and other found materials in Northern Tasmania from her mother and her grandmother.
Lola’s latest works for this exhibition explore the larger king maireener shells, as well as other materials such as echidna quills. Marina Lady neckpiece is made with larger king maireener shells as well as traditional green maireener shells, Vinegar Hill neckpiece is made with echidna quills and black crow shells, and Sawyer’s Hill is made with cut white cockles and toothy shells.
"I was asked lots of questions about making shell necklaces and I kept going to talk to Mum about how she made them.
"This Tasmanian Aboriginal women’s cultural practice has a significance that has continued over many generations. It was really important for me to capture and be part of it. I am so lucky Mum and I made several necklaces. We held our first exhibition together in Queensland."
Lola Greeno is a highly-respected Tasmanian Indigenous shell worker, sculptor, installation and fibre artist. She is originally from Cape Barren Island but now lives in Launceston, Tasmania. With more than 30 years of traditional shell necklace making; the knowledge and customs that were passed down from mother to daughter; Lola is one of a small number of women shell stringers who have been responsible for ensuring the craft is passed on from their Elders and continued to the present day.
In 2019, Lola Greeno was honoured with the prestigious Red Ochre Award for outstanding lifetime achievement at the 12th National Indigenous Art Awards presented by the Australia Council for the Arts. Her visually captivating creations play a pivotal role in maintaining Indigenous culture and storytelling tradition.
In 2014, Lola Greeno’s award-winning talent in shell-working was presented in Australian Design Centre exhibition Lola Greeno: Cultural Jewels, the eighth in the Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft series. The exhibition featured 50 highly visual and textural works, each uniquely championing the traditions and culture of the Indigenous women of Tasmania’s Cape Barren and Flinders Islands. The exhibition toured to 18 venues across Australia including the regional gallery network, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and JamFactory through ADC On Tour, supported by Visions Australia and the Gordon Darling Foundation, finishing in 2019.
The complete exhibition was acquired by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.
Lola's work was also part of an exhibition curated by Lisa Cahill and Steven Pozel for the 2nd International Triennale of Craft: The Arts – Grounded in Region at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan in 2013.
In 2015, the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet recognised Lola in the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women for service to Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts.
Lola Greeno’s work is held in the public collections of the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences, Sydney; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Museum of Australia, Canberra and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.
Image: Lola Greeno, Sawyers Beach, 2019, Cut white cockles, toothy shells, 300 x 250 x 20mm. Photo: Felicity Brading.