Handshake is a mentoring project unique to the contemporary art world. It is a space where established artists hand-over some of their quality knowledge to those asking for a ‘hand’ and is a two-way project that encourages symbiosis and a ‘give and take’. The accumulative ‘knowledge‘ gained from the feedback relationship is transformed for various quality exhibitions and collaboration projects.
The project began in February 2011, is the brainchild of Wellington-based artist, curator and tutor Peter Deckers. The idea was born out of recognition of the need for ongoing support for talented New Zealand graduates after completing their jewellery/art study. Handshake reverses the old ‘apprentice’ model, whereby a mentee works for a mentor – here the mentor works more for the mentee through their feedback and support in the development of ideas and exhibition work.
The first iteration of the project, Handshake1, began when twelve jewellery graduates from New Zealand were given the opportunity to make work alongside their jewellery heroes from around the globe, without having to leave their own workshops. Peter approached these distinguished, internationally established artist and icons, offering them the opportunity to act as mentors in a collaborative two-year project. The result? A lively blog, touring exhibitions, an exceptional learning experience as well as a series of catalogues and a book.
Handshake2 took the project even further with an open call, a fresh development programme which included a JEWELcamp, a masterclass with Benjamin Lignel and an exhibition programme that enabled more relationships to form, practices to develop and ideas to refine as testing grounds for feedback and further development. The third iteration of HandShake was established from former members of HandShake1 and HandShake2 projects with exciting new challenges that includes development programmes, collaboration projects and a series of national and international exhibitions in established premises.
The HS2 mentees and mentors are:
HandShake project continued with selected participants from the HandShake1 and HanShake2 projects with HANDSHAKE3 (2015-2017). A call for new participants called HandShake4 (2017-2018) starts in Aug 2016.