Ancient representations of lions exist in places well beyond the endemic domains of the actual animals. Even accounting for trade routes and traveller's tales, the figure of the lion made a surprisingly ubiquitous mark on the iconography of entirely disparate regions and cultures. How the animal was portrayed varied significantly, with stylistic conventions conferring local flavour; often what was rendered bore little resemblance to the living creatures. The lion has universally invoked fear and come to symbolise common values such as political legitimacy, guardianship and courage, but the varied depictions also tell a fascinating story of regional cultural specificity, and of cultures converging and cross pollinating.

Georgia Harvey mines and synthesises a kaleidoscopic array of source material - medieval illuminations, archaic ceremonial vessels, sentinel statuary, heraldry, kitsch figurines - and transmutes it into a playful celebration of this diversity of perspectives and realities.

Georgia Harvey is a ceramicist drawn to inanimate objects that hint at the potential of anima. Originally studying painting at RMIT, she later trained and worked as a conservator before developing a sculptural practice, inspired by the artefacts encountered in her conservation work. In 2016 she moved to Sharjah (UAE) and spent several years working and exploring in the region. Her idiosyncratic sculptures demonstrate a fondness for ritual objects of the ancient world imbued with quiet humour, with surfaces and textures that elicit touch.

Lionish is presented as part of Craft Contemporary 2023 – our annual festival celebrating craft practice today.

Image: Henry Trumble


Collect Georgia Harvey works

Explore Georgia Harvey's Atrium exhibition Lionish online.