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  • Breaking Point Exhibition 2021

Breaking Point: Fragility in clay and nature

This exhibition is now closed. The exhibition was open 8th July to 3rd October 2021. Admission free.

Check here for Museum opening hours

Three artists, Mella Shaw, Jayne Ivimey, and Elspeth Owen, will exhibit work inspired by the natural world among the displays in the Museum of Zoology. All three have a strong interest in the environmental movement and create ceramics that seek to engage, provoke and stimulate discussion.

With artworks placed in and amongst the cases of taxidermy, skeletons and specimens in jars, visitors will see the Museum’s collections in a new light. Throughout the exhibition, the fragility of fired clay as a material is explored in a context of ecological decline, ecosystem collapse and environmental change and uncertainty.

You can learn about each installation by clicking the links on the left or in the menu list.

Take a tour of the exhibition with Jack Ashby
Image: Mella Shaw_HARVEST_detail 2018. Photo © Andrew Norman

About the artists

Mella Shaw: With a background in anthropology and a former career in museums and galleries, Mella makes clay objects and installations that address reoccurring environmental themes of balance, tipping-points, fragility and loss.

Jayne Ivimey: Based in Norfolk, Jayne creates a range of works that depict the natural world.  Having spent seven years working on bird conservation in New Zealand, much of her recent work includes references to birds and the challenges they face. 

Elspeth Owen: With a long established studio in Grantchester, near Cambridge, Elspeth’s work has been shown worldwide, and is held in the permanent collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The exhibition is located throughout the Museum and entry is free. 

Header image: Mella Shaw_HARVEST_2018 Image 7 © Sophie Mutevelian


Dementia-friendly exhibition guide

Explore Breaking Point with our dementia friendly resources, created with cognitive impairment in mind:

Download and print our dementia-friendly exhibition guide here

Header image: Mella Shaw_HARVEST_2018 Image 6 © Sophie Mutevelian

This exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Arts, Science and Conservation Programme at Cambridge Conservation Initiative.