Cook & Company draws on the nature of jewellery as both a distinctly public and private art form.

The largest survey of work by leading Aotearoa jeweller Octavia Cook, this exhibition expands on her long-held interest in the two-fold condition of jewellery: as a social artform when worn on the body and a repository of private or secret meaning.

A new series, I.M.P.O.S.T.E.R., is presented alongside significant works from public and private collections, highlighting Cook’s extensive body of commissions spanning more than 15 years of making.

Cook is joined in the exhibition by seven practitioners spanning craft, design and architecture – Gerard Dombroski, Turumeke Harrington, Steven Junil Park, Nicholas Stevens & Deborah Smith, Isobel Thom and Anna Wallis. These makers were commissioned by the artist to design their own storage systems to house an imagined collection of jewellery.

The resulting structures assert that the life of jewellery is in living collaboration with its owners and the spaces it inhabits after being worn. A selection of pieces from Cook’s own jewellery collection echoes this assertion, positioning the maker, commissioner and caretaker in conversation.

Cook & Company is made possible with the generous support of lenders: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and private collectors.

Octavia Cook, born in Auckland in 1978, is a jeweller based in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Cook’s work is represented in public and private collections in Aotearoa and overseas including those of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, the Dowse Art Museum, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Otago Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (UK) and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (USA).

Octavia Cook acknowledges Creative New Zealand for their support of this project. 

Octavia Cook, I.M.P.O.S.T.E.R. brooches (backs), 2022

Octavia Cook, E (Emperor) brooch, 2022