Penny Evans
Balabalaa Yinarr 1    2017
Ceramics, dyed woven raffia, echidna quill and wire
Redland Art Gallery Collection.
Acquired in 2019 with Redland Art Gallery Acquisition Funds.
Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Carl Warner.

Penny Evans’ hand-built ceramics emerge from her reflections on her Gamilaraay/Gomeroi Country and its links to neighbouring areas. She explores contrasting ecologies of different landscapes and bears witness to and senses the metaphysical signs of ancestral experiences.

Balabalaa Yinarr (butterfly woman) references the history of large Bunya nut gatherings. Historically held in Bunya Mountains, local and invited Aboriginal communities from regions as far south as northern New South Wales and to west and east Queensland would come together for ceremony, trade and exchange through the harvesting and feasting of the Bunya nut.

Paying homage to Evan’s female ancestors, this work imagines women leading their kin on the long travel route from home to the festival through thick clouds of yellow butterflies – a natural indicator of a bumper crop.