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Opening of Norwegian jewellery exhibition

H.M. Queen Sonja opens the Norwegian silver jewellery exhibition The Rhythm of Light during a state visit to Ireland, september 2006.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is truly exciting for me to be present here at the Cork Public Museum for the opening of this exhibition.

Both Ireland and Norway are beautiful countries and our people love outdoor activities. Like so many of my fellow countrymen and -women, I am fond of hiking in the mountains. There, when the light plays on granite rocks, snow and water surfaces, the whole landscape seems to be tinted with silver. These are images that I carry with me in my daily life.

Many of Norway’s contemporary artists, - painters as well as crafts artists – seem to have a love for silver. I have often wondered if this choice of colour and of material is inspired by the visual impressions and landscape memories that we all share.

It is with great expectation the Norwegian jewellery exhibition The Rhythm of Light is being presented here in your beautiful City of Culture. The name of the exhibition holds a reference to the cycle of light coming and going which is so characteristic of Norway, and which influences all who live there. The focus of the exhibition, however, is on silver as an exceptionally versatile medium for contemporary jewellery artists.

In the exhibition, both established and emerging artists are represented. I am happy to see that so many of them are with us here today, and I am especially pleased to learn that tomorrow, they will join Irish jewellery colleagues for a public gallery talk. The crafts communities in Ireland and Norway have a close working relationship, and the present exhibition and tomorrow’s meeting are part of a whole series of fruitful joint projects.

Norway, as well as Ireland, has a long and rich tradition working with silver and for silver jewellery. Our common tradition with the dragon silver earned great attention during an exhibition I opened in Dublin in 1995. However, over the past decades, one can almost talk about a renaissance in our jewellery art.

Most of the participating artists have created new, unique pieces especially for this event, and they all have their characteristic styles. This is modern jewellery that shows clearly the personality and individuality of each artist. But common to all these artists is a deep respect for an ancient craft that allows them to be daring and free, playful and innovative in their treatment of a traditional material. Some combine silver with new or unexpected materials, in plastics or iron. The visual impact of these pieces is strong, and, almost in spite of their size, certain pieces have a monumental quality.

Many of the pieces have titles, just like paintings and sculptures. With all their beauty, however, these necklaces, bracelets and rings are not just for adornment. They are original and unique works of art that describe a mood, hint at a story or convey a message from the artist to the public.

I would like to thank the participating artists and the curators, as well as all the other people and institutions in Ireland and Norway who have worked so well and so hard in order to bring about this exhibition. Congratulations to you all.

I hereby declare the Norwegian silver jewellery exhibition The Rhythm of Light to be open.


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