Kate Beynon

Year of the dog self-portrait

acrylic and enamel on canvas
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Kate Beynon migrated to Australia, from the UK, at the age of four with her family. Born in Hong Kong, she describes her heritage as “Chinese and Welsh, embracing a ‘hybrid’ Australian identity.

“The portrait refers to being born in the Year of the Dog, with 2006 being the Year of the Dog,” says Beynon. “The dog images appear as guardian spirits and I am looking outward, thinking also of a dream vision of walking with my seven-year-old son Rali.”

“My work is influenced by contemporary animation and film, textiles and street fashion styles, as well as traditional Chinese art and calligraphy including my late grandfather’s paintings. Over the last 10 years my work has often included the figure of Li Ji (originally based on a 4th-century Chinese fable of a girl who saves her village from a giant menacing serpent), while recent works have featured many female faces and figures extending the warrior-girl spirit of Li Ji into different lives and times. This work then is a ‘real’ self-portrait as an extension of the female fictional ‘portraits’ in my work to date. I used a mirror and snapshots of myself to appear in a panoramic cinematic-like still, ‘channelling’ Li Ji, contemplating the future. I am also really interested in the concept of luck and charms for protection, and with the guardian dogs I have included two auspicious Chinese characters for happiness and longevity.”

Born in 1970, Beynon is based in Melbourne where she completed a Bachelor of Art (Painting) at the Victorian College of the Arts. Since graduating in 1993, she has had 17 solo exhibitions in Australia and one in New Zealand. Her work has been included in over 70 group exhibitions in Australia and internationally including in the Netherlands, Denmark, Venezuela, the USA, the UK and Singapore. In 2002 she was the Australian representative at Upstream: 400 years of the Dutch East Indies Co in Amsterdam and Hoorn, the Netherlands. She has received a Professional Development Grant from the Australia Council, resulting in a residency in New York and the Arts Victoria Women’s Artist Award, 1999. Her work is held in major collections including Australian national and state collections and the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, Germany.