As the familiar saying and widely used statement ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ inspired by Plato’s The Symposium (c. 385–380 BCE) and translated by Richard L. Hunter (2004, p 84) has been accepted that the concept of beauty is such a relative one that it’s defined terms change with whoever is actively doing the perceiving. What holds beauty to one, may not to another. So if a concept such as beauty can be that subjective, can the same be said art, a highly interpretive and conceptual medium. After being unable to define art, it could be conceded that art can be successfully identified by the individual viewer in terms of their personal concept of reality and perspective of the work, even though a verbal or written definition may not be offered. So this would make art a matter of ones perception, much like beauty.
The concept of the practitioner’s interpretation of the world is demonstrated in Bidjigal woman Esme Timbery’s version of ‘shell art’. She uses her own experiences and perspectives in the revival of the ‘traditional’ production of artefacts by the Indigenous Koori women from La Perouse, NSW. Now located in The National Museum of Australia Canberra, The Esme Timbery Collection consists of the three ornamental models of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Made in 2006, each model measures approximately 350mm x 160mm x 100mm and are constructed from a plywood skeleton, covered in fabric (two in purple and one in red), glitter and shellwork. A similar work titled ‘Centrepoint Tower’ (Timbery 2002) bears a similar iconic theme and construction in materials.
Timbery’s contemporary practice is influenced by ‘traditional’ indigenous customs as well as exposure to the westernised European lifestyle. Her Shellwork Harbour Bridges were described as a work which is "celebrating a contemporary icon of NSW in the traditional shellwork style associated with the La