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Penny Evans
gudhuwali BURN

Creation date: 2020–21 Location: Gallery 12
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Penny Evans, K/Gamilaroi people, gudhuwali BURN, 2020–21, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony with the support of Pamela Pearce and Wally Patterson through the Patterson Pearce Foundation. Courtesy the artist.

Artist Penny Evans on gudhuwali BURN

We are Country. We embody it, it's in us, we're part of Country. If I go out and visit on my Country, there's nothing like the feeling I have. That feeling of deep connection and wholeness. Things emerge out of the process of making that are actually about my life and where I go and what I do.

It's always a weaving in of what's come before it, particularly landscapes that I walk in and connect in. It's all in there somewhere. And it's just I'm digesting, like as I'm sort of on these creative pathways. I'm digesting and processing life.

You know, that's what it is for me.

Clay is the ground. We are Country too. We embody it. It’s in us. We are part of it. I’m drawing with clay, and it’s like a language on the wall.

There’d been a massive fire through [Yuraygir National Park in Yaegl] Country in 2015. I spent a lot of time in that place over the following years. There were banksia in the different neighbouring ecologies that I was walking through. There were different species of banksia in different stages of breaking down, and while some were really severely burnt, others were in pockets that weren’t burned. I felt like they were talking to me. [The bushfire aftermath] echoes the different levels and layers of how our people have been impacted by colonisation. People who have been at the brunt of it, the brunt of the massacres, and the complexity of the effects of all the other manifestations of colonisation.

— Penny Evans, 2021