Trade & Transformation

Solo Exhibition Blak Dot Gallery 2018

Trade beads or slave beads, were used globally by European colonists as a mechanism for the exploitation of labour and goods, they were also used by missionaries and merchant traders for building rapport with indigenous people of the land. Through her solo exhibition, artist Lisa Hilli explores the impacts and transformative effect that trade beads had upon her own people the Tolai / Gunantuna, during a precarious and hostile era of the late 1800’s and how materiality became a language, which was understood and valued by all.


Two women facing the future, Duke of York Islands. (Where the First Missionary landed and first mission, Port Hunter, c.1882)

1000 mm x 733 mm, pigment print on cotton rag, glass beads, cotton thread. 2018. Photographer Reverend R. H. Rickard. Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library NSW and Uniting Church in Australia – Assembly. (Reference ON 305 / 547).

Value Systems

Glass beads, nylon coated wire, Deutsche mark, British Papua schillings, Papua New Guinea Kina coins, stone crosses, photo locket, archival photographs. Dimensions variable, 2018.

Material Histories #1

Single channel HD video, audio. 1 min 47 seconds. Dimensions variable. 2015

Material Histories #3

(4 channel HD video) presented as single channel, audio, 8 mins 47 seconds. Dimensions variable. 2015

A Niaring Kai Kada Luluai (The Lords Prayer)

Vinyl text transcribed from photograph by Reverend R. H. Rickard, Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library NSW and Uniting Church in Australia – Assembly. (Reference ON 305/552)


Nassa shells, cane. Artists’ collection


Blak Dot Gallery 2018

Dress Code Museum of Brisbane

Media & Reviews

Dress Code Review – Artlink, Ann Finegan

Exhibition & Artist interview – Blak Dot Gallery


Collective of labourer’s & beaders: Cathy Hilli, Léuli Eshraghi, Eddy Carroll, Pauline Vetuna, Kevin Murray, Kim Kruger, Savanna Kruger, Kalissa Alexeyeff, Travis Cox, Kirsten Lyttle, Aunty Lila Heimann, Tray Hudson, Gina Ropiha, Talava Tuhipa-Turner, Jacinta Crocker.

Thank you to Kimba Thompson, Blak Dot Gallery and Testing Grounds for supporting the development of this work during an artist residency called Trade Stories  in January 2018. A part of the research of this exhibition was supported by a Museums Victoria 1854 scholarship in 2016.

%d bloggers like this: