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Warwick Freeman

Warwick Freeman’s Biography

Last Updated:
27/08/2021, 9:04 am
Arts Foundation Laureate 2002
Warwick Freeman makes jewellery that has an air of distilled simplicity, a considered response to the imagery and aesthetic of our collective culture, jewellery that speaks about the complexities of living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Born in Nelson 1953, Warwick’s skills are largely self-taught.

He took up jewellery-making in Perth, Australia, in 1972, following two years of travel. Returning to New Zealand in 1973, Warwick initially established a workshop in Nelson before moving to Auckland in 1975. After a brief stint as a manufacturing jeweller he first joined Lapis, a co-operative jewellery workshop, in 1977, and a year later became a partner in Auckland's now highly successful jewellery co-operative Fingers.In the 1980s as a prominent member of this group, he revolutionised contemporary jewellery practice in Aotearoa. This work was characterised by the use of natural materials such as bone, stone and shell

Warwick regularly exhibits in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in Europe and the USA. His works are held, to name but a few of the institutions and none of the many individuals who cherish his works, in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; Auckland Museum; the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt; the Pinokothek der Moderne, Munich;the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand, Wellington.

His international standing was recognised by the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation, based at the Stedelijk Museum, who named him their 2002 Laureate, in the same year he received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award.

Warwick has been represented in survey and thematic exhibitions including: Given Jewellery by Warwick Freeman, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (2004); and Ornament as Art, Smithsonian, Washington D.C (2007). Recent solo exhibitions include: Its Black or White, Starkwhite (2007) ; Shadowboard, Bowen Galleries, Wellington (2008). His survey exhibition, Given toured national galleries around the country in 2005-2007.

Warwick Freeman lives in Auckland.