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Penny Evans

Grandmothers Mark, 2020, clay, red oxide, pooling glaze, slip, wire, photo: Michelle Eabrey
Grandmothers Mark, 2020, clay, red oxide, pooling glaze, slip, wire, photo: Michelle Eabrey

bio:

I am a descendant of the Gamilaroi people of North-west NSW. And also a convict transported to ‘Australia’ in 1830. My Gamilaroi Ancestors Country includes the area within Moree, Mungindi, Boomi, Boggabilla. Born in 1966 I grew up in Cammerygal Country Sydney with little knowledge of my culture and Australian history generally as the truth was not taught in 1970s coloniser’s education system. I went to Sydney College of the Arts in the mid 1980s and was the only Aboriginal person there at the time. After art school I had a studio, shop and practice running from Gadigal Country, Enmore in Sydney, until in 2002 I moved to Widjabal Wiabal Country (Lismore) where I’ve had my two boys and established my studio here. I am a pattern-maker which relates to my Gamilaroi cultural practices of carving. My work manifests through time spent in Country both of my Ancestors and other Country as well.

statement:

My practice is a process-driven enquiry primarily working with clay but also mixed media, printmaking, artist books and photography. My clay practice is diverse, the work being a manifestation of the ongoing decolonising process which I’ve been in throughout my lifetime in what is called ‘Australia’ by the colonisers. The work is informed by time spent on Country reconnecting with culture and also being witness to the devastating impacts of continuous colonisation processes on our sacred Country. Mining for coal and coal-seam gas from Gamilaroi country, two centuries of inappropriate European agricultural plundering, and in the Northern Basin (my Country) cotton farming specifically and the theft of water from our river systems is what has informed my work to date. So it’s a combination of cultural iconography and bearing witness to ongoing extreme devastation and the impacts on our people and kin, including plants and animals.

Wounded Digging Sticks, 2020, clay, red oxide, slip, wire, pooling glaze, photo: Michelle Eabrey
Wounded Digging Sticks, 2020, clay, red oxide, slip, wire, pooling glaze, photo: Michelle Eabrey