In this series of work I have painted various birds from New Zealand and Australia onto boards and found objects. My art practice is driven by the mythical origins of birds and their migration and how we imbue them with a spiritual and cultural dimension, as opposed to the reality of their existence.
This exhibition displays paintings of found, collected or borrowed bones, skulls and remnants of birds and other species. Finding these remnants is like finding treasure. It is a physical reminder of something that once lived. I am interested in painting these found objects as still life studies. I am interested in their form and the contrasting shadows they make.
I especially painted the Huia bird because they are regarded by Maori as tapu (sacred), and the wearing of its skin or feathers was reserved for people of high status. They were hunted to extinction by Maori and Pakeha. The mythology of the Huia is fascinating, they have 12 tail feathers that represented for Maori the 12 levels of Hawaiki. The shape of the Huias beaks for the female and the male were so different and served different roles in gathering food.
My paintings of the Huia are dark and concealing because it symbolises the emergence of the Huia from another time and world. Albino Huia have never been proven but Maori mythology has stories concerning their existence. Painting the Huias was important because they are part of my history and ancestry.
– Pennyrose Wiggins, 2016 –
PENNYROSE WIGGINS was born in New Zealand where she completed a degree in Visual Arts and Design. In 2011 Pennyrose moved to Darwin where she held a solo show at Don Whyte Framing in 2013, and later that year was selected for the Togart Contemporary Art Award exhibition. Pennyrose has previously exhibited with Outstation Gallery in the group exhibition Off Whyte, held in November 2013. Her works are held in private collections in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. Pennyrose continues to paint in Darwin.