Penelope Le Petit - 'Familiar'

Wednesday 13 September - Sunday 1 October 2017

Perceptions from afar are not always accurate: our acceptance of the traditional Muslim faith is being challenged by new visions of radicalism and terrorism, resulting in once-familiar decorative Islamic designs, symbols and Middle Eastern calligraphy now evoking, for some, fear and suspicion. In Familiar I have created a series of images to demystify the ‘other’ by connecting recognisable Australian imagery with familiar emblems of geometric patterned tiles and coloured prayer mats, offering the viewer an avenue to engage with and acknowledge Australia’s cohesive communities.

A series of framed lithographs, relief and collaged prints – from afar these images may appear to have a relationship to one style. But viewed up close, the quintessential Australian gumleaf, generic embroidery designs on small, mat-sized reliefs, and references to Australian Rules football unfold to reveal blended cultures. As a printmaker I have explored relief printing – large hand printed linocuts that give the illusion from afar that the work is symmetrical, even industrial. But on close inspection, freehand mark-making, Australian vernacular, text, and cross and honeycomb stitch are exposed. Along with my lithographs, I have produced collaged images entitled Last chance vacation, referencing the US travel ban from Muslim majority countries and Department of Home Affairs, which acknowledges some of Australia’s eligible skills occupations for migration. A palette of gold, blue, turquoise, white and black permeates the space.