08 August 2011

Artisan Tribute to Nancy Wake

Artisan is sad to hear that inspirational Australian, Nancy Wake, passed away on Sunday aged 98. Known as 'the White Mouse', Nancy Wake was the Allied Forces' most-decorated servicewoman of World War 2 and topped the Gestapo's most-wanted list for her covert operations.

In 1940 Nancy joined the resistance movement in Europe and first worked as a courier smuggling messages and food to underground groups in southern France. Over time she helped more than 1000 people flee. By 1942 she had a price of five-million-francs on her head! In 1944 she was put in charge of an army of 7000 Maquis troops, and during the war she performed many heroic acts, including cycling 500km over 71hrs behind enemy lines in order to provide new radio codes.

Artisan will be honouring 'the White Mouse' in an upcoming exhibition Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor: 100 women, 100 stories, 100 brooches. The exhibition features 100 female jewellers responding to 100 inspirational Australian women, through the creation of 100 brooches.

As a tribute to Nancy Wake's extraordinary life, we are providing a sneak peak of her brooch produced by the artist Tracy Pateman. Tracy explains "I am interested in the contrasts between Nancy's unswerving values and desire to take action, and the inertia around ethical issues and human rights in Australia today. The brooch is intended to represent the clarity of purpose that sustained Nancy during the war and afterwards. It also refers to the mountains of central France where she fought behind enemy lines."

Tracey Pateman, Nancy Wake, 2011. Titanium and 925 silver. 78 x 104 x 20mm.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor will be on display at gallery artisan from 29 September to 12 November 2011, before touring nationally in 2012-2013.

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