Thea Anamara Perkins comes from an exceptionally spectacular artistic household. Her mom is artwork curator Hetti Perkins; her sister is actor, Madeleine Madden; her grandfather is outstanding Indigenous rights activist, Charles Perkins; and her aunt is famend filmmaker, Rachel Perkins.

It was Thea’s portrait of her Aunt, Rachel Perkins, that earned her a spot within the shortlist for the 2021 Archibald Prize, marking the third 12 months in a row she has been a finalist within the nation’s most prestigious artwork award.

However on the root of this esteemed recognition lies a singular portray fashion and a robust, clear imaginative and prescient for the political and religious efficiency of artwork. Amongst Thea’s creative inspirations are Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gordon Bennett and Caravaggio – every titans of their craft. Thea’s work shivers with the ancestral connection to land and group of Kame Kngwarreye, the contrasting color of Caravaggio and the political dynamism of Bennett.

Thea’s vivid work and portraits are renderings of latest Aboriginal life in Australia. For her first ever solo present, Shimmer, she asserts the wealthy and highly effective pleasure of First Nations matriarchy, in addition to its vitality and light-weight throughout land and reminiscence.

‘The title is impressed by a public Arrernte ladies’s ceremony shared by our very senior knowledge-holder MK Turner OAM’, Thea explains. ‘The lyrics are “altyerre ayenge alhelharrke-parrkaye’ which interprets to ‘I’m a lady and I’m shimmering.”‘ We spoke to Thea at her Sydney studio forward of the exhibition opening.

Are you able to inform me somewhat about your artistic journey to this point, and the way you got here to be concerned in artwork making? Do you might have any early recollections of this?

I’ve at all times naturally expressed my self by way of drawing. As I bought older I realised the conceptual potential of artwork to speak. I bear in mind after I was fairly younger I reduce out paper and used it to map out the halo of sunshine round a candle in a darkish room, and the form of the sunshine spilling onto the ground from a door that was barely ajar. I’ve at all times been attuned to how gentle behaves, which could be fantastically articulated by way of shading in drawing – however significantly fascinating when explored by way of mixing paint and the complexities of color science.

Are there any recurring themes current in your work?

The fallibility and shifting nature of reminiscence, in addition to its energy – our experiences are so formative. What makes our connections to folks and locations endure. Utilizing Western vernaculars to take authorship of First Nations illustration, and utilizing it for my very own voice.

You come from a really artistic household – how have they knowledgeable your follow, and your higher artistic universe?

I’ve come to understand that we’re all storytellers, and if we’re not talking our personal truths, we’re supporting the voices of others. We’ve at all times been inspired to assume deeply and empathetically about points, and to then take motion.

What does artwork making imply to you – why is it essential, and what do you hope to speak?

Artwork-making is significant, it’s a conduit for summary concepts, distilled in order that they are often comprehended. It’s how we will perceive ourselves and one another. I hope to transmute ineffable concepts in a transparent and direct manner. To at all times be striving for evolution.

‘Shimmer‘
Tuesday eighth June – third July
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm

N. Smith Gallery
6 Napier Avenue
Gadigal Nation / Paddington, 2021



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