What stories do our bodies and marks tell? That is the question Melbourne’s Immigration Museum is exploring in its latest exhibition, Immigration Granulation – part of the season’s exhibition suite, Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks. Conceived by Ukrainian-Australian artist and tattooist Stanislava Pinchuk and Melbourne-based jeweller Zaiba Khan, Immigration Granulation explores ideas of what it means to be marked, and the history of tattooing through Khan’s delicate fine jewellery pieces and Pinchuk’s intricate tattoos mapping immigration journeys onto the bodies of those who made them.
As Pinchuk explains: “This body of work is really about three granulations. First, is when a tattoo heals. That medical process is called ‘granulation’ – and it’s where capillary vessels form into small beads, and new connective tissue forms over the wound. The second, is that jewellers also use this process of ‘granulation’ – where gold is heated into a capillary reaction, and the resulting beads are fused into decorative patterns on a metal surface. And of course, the third – is that farmers have always used the granulation process in the preparation of staple foods.”
“The works allude to the physical repair and nourishment the body needs from immigration journeys; as well as the toll they take.”
On the creative process, Khan says “Stan has tattooed me over the last few years, and I’ve made her a fair bit of jewellery. So it helps that we were already used to working together. And it also helps that we’re both on the same page when it comes to gold – the more the better. Both directly relate to the body; with placement and movement integral to their form. Both have the longevity to be carried by the wearer for whole lifespans. The biggest part of the process was respecting and honouring the stories our friends entrusted us with. Together we entered the realms of personal history and its immortalisation on the body.”
“Mapping the geographic and the spiritual, the tattoo and jewellery meeting on the bodies of our friends, completing one another.”