The HANDSHAKE1 project began in February 2011 and was ongoing until 2013 with exhibitions in NZ and beyond. HS1 had two stages: the first was to develop ideas and work with the feedback of their mentor for a series of exhibitions, and in the second stage the mentor became their collaborator for the Objectspace exhibition in Auckland.
HS1 was the pilot for the HANDSHAKE project as we know it. Early 2010 Peter Deckers was asked by Studio 20/17 Gallery, Sydney to curate an emerging NZ jewellery exhibition that opened in the last quarter of 2011. There was ample time to build upon ideas and making developments – but how to manage that on a professional level?
Graduates from NZ jewellery educations experience a rough ride after they finish their art studies. The informed feedback stops and often is replaced by the feedback of friends and family. The three years of study is in most cases not enough for the development of a solid art practice. Peter has seen talented graduates using their creative skills solely to overcome daily life pressures and chores. The HS thought is to give these talented graduates numerous professional opportunities that overcome this by providing a supportive, like-minded mentor and an exhibition programme that allows creative experimentation and safety.
The 2 staged HS1 model worked well and attracted new funding for other HS projects who were fine-tuned to give optimum professional opportunities and support.
This newly developed model based on HS1 experience made possible that under a protective HS umbrella experimental work can be developed over a series of national and international exhibitions. This will give the HS artists numerous opportunities to tap into a wider international network that aligns their art practice.