In Limelight greenstone carver Joe Sheehan is putting pounamu (NZ greenstone), making and cultural issues into the 'limelight'.
The lime-light created by these pounamu works challenge us to rethink the 'default position' in relation to how many of us think about and look at greenstone carving. As a body of works they ask the following questions;
Why does much contemporary pounamu carving look like works held in museums and not like objects of this time?
Why do many pounamu carvings look as though they haven't come out of a mechanized workshop?
How can multiple cultural approaches to the use of pounamu co-exist and be respected?
In these superbly crafted works Joe Sheehan is suggesting that that we need to think and develop new possibilities in relation to carving pounamu. Possibilities in which contemporary social and cultural contexts are spoken of in terms of form and process. He is suggesting that makers need to operate from a position of cultural confidence, as opposed to cultural deference, while being aware of, and respecting, other making traditions and practices. And ensuring that there is space within and around the work for viewers to have their own fresh response to the works.