Penny Evans, Gamilaraay
It’s hard not to be struck by the sheer materiality of Penny Evans’ work. Deep, coloured incisions carve their way through ceramics like scars, crafting detailed patterns that reference the terrain of her ancestral lands in Northern NSW.
“It comes down to the landscape…an observance of my landscape out there on country,” says Evans. “The ground, the cracked mud of our waterholes, the coolamons, the trees.”
She’s honed her distinctive style over 35 years with countless exhibitions and awards, but Badu Gili is the first time her pieces have been digitised. For an artist whose work is so tangible, the transformation from original ceramics to light projections isn’t so much a direct facsimile, but rather a reinterpretation. But the results are equally as striking: bold colours that almost float across the sails, repeated patterns that expand into infinity.
Evans’ ceramics are as much objects of beauty as they are a reminder of colonisation. Her work is inextricably tied to the ongoing process of understanding her Gamilaraay heritage – a heritage that, for too long, has been omitted from Australian history.
“For me, it’s been an investigation of my personal story through to my mother’s story, my grandmother’s, my great-grandmother’s,” she says. “When I grew up in the ‘70s, we knew nothing. We weren’t told anything about anything. We were all in the same boat – blackfellas, whitefellas, everyone was in the same boat around the history of what had taken place."