Cover image of the review
Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Still Life with Yellow Bowls, Limoges porcelain, Souther Ice porcelain, Ipswitch, Queensland, 2002. Photo: Zan Wimberley

Clay Dynasty

12 Nov 2022
Powerhouse Museum: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) 11 Oct - 5 Mar 2023

Forming the earth into objects has long been a part of human activity. The earliest clay-fired craft so far uncovered by archaeologists, Jomon pottery, was found in Japan and has been dated to 16000bp (before present). However, clay is not limited to its shaping, forming and firing into ceramics. In Australia, clay has been used for paintings and drawings by First Nations cultures to create some of the oldest rock art on Earth. Some of this rock art, such as those found on Wilinggin Country, date to 30000bp. Clay Dynasty, currently on view at the Powerhouse Museum, presents a much more recent history. The exhibition’s “dynasty”—an era of history that reflects a succession of the same line of descent—begins in the mid-1960s, and consists of practices where the clay is fired.

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