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.