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National Museum of Australia

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Shell necklace with green maireener shells by Lola Greeno

2017.0029.0001

Shell necklace with green maireener shells by Lola Greeno

Object information

Physical description

A single strand shell necklace with approximately 540 green maireener (rainbow kelp) shells on synthetic string.

Statement of significance

This collection consists of a necklace made from opalescent green maireener (rainbow kelp) shells by renowned Tasmanian Aboriginal artist, Lola Greeno. The green maireener shell, now a rarity, was traditionally used in necklace making and valued by Aboriginal people for its brilliant iridescence. Greeno comes from a long line of shell stringers, learning from her own mother and passing the knowledge to her daughter and granddaughters.

Greeno's ancestors have been making shell necklaces for thousands of years. Traditionally worn by men and women, they were made as objects of adornment, presented as gifts and used in trade. Colonisation had a devastating effect on Aboriginal culture, yet the tradition of shell necklace making is one of the few practices that survived without disruption. It is a powerful assertion of identity, heritage and creativity. Shell necklace making continues and evolves and for Tasmanian Aboriginal women, the tradition is a tangible and unbroken link with the past, present and future.

Object information

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