I started learning and experimenting with ceramics in the late 2000s at Kaiela Arts because our manager here then was a ceramicist. I loved being creative and being able to combine art with 3d shapes and sculptures. It’s more interesting than just painting. I used to mostly make big pots with sculptural elements. In late 2022 we had an artist show us how to make plaster moulds at Kaiela Arts and my idea to create this ceramic turtle shell eventuated from that. Making plaster moulds from real turtle shells gives me a chance to show the shape of the natural shell and share our Yorta Yorta totem, long neck turtle, bayadherra. I have also been experimenting with different colours and designs painted onto the shell and making different size turtle shells too.
Jack Anselmi is a proud Yorta Yorta man from Mooroopna, Victoria. A regular participating artist at Kaiela Arts, Jack enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and learning new skills. He is highly regarded for his striking animal carvings, sculptures and ceramics. Jack has received various commissions including from Melbourne University and Goulburn Valley Grammar School. In 2016, Jack Anselmi worked with fellow artist Cynthia Hardie to create a large ceramic installation called ‘Midden’ for the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award at Shepparton Art Museum. ’Midden’ was one of five shortlisted entries and won the 2016 Award for its innovative use of the medium of ceramic. A recurring theme in his ceramics is the long-neck turtle which is the Yorta Yorta totem. Jack breathes life into previously inanimate objects whether in wood or ceramic, his animals have an energy about them that is captivating.