Patricia Piccinini - by Hugo Ares. Published in Bold Magazine

Artist, Patricia Piccinini was born in Sierra Leone and immigrated to Australia in the seventies, where she began her career as an artist. Piccinini works with many different mediums; sculpture being one of the most recent. One of Piccinini’s favourite themes is the connection between man and nature, and her artwork depicts the many facets of this relationship from how fragile it has became due to man’s destruction and manipulation of nature, to the origin of the species. She often portrays this by using her vivid imagination to show us through various vignettes the extremes that animals must sometimes endure and the actions they are forced to take in order to survive and thrive in their threatened environment and how intertwined the lives of humans and animals are, sometimes friend, sometimes foe.

Nature’s Little Helpers is a series of vignettes featuring though provoking photographs and sculptures created by Patricia to bring our relationship with nature to life. The signature piece of this collection highlights the changes to the Australian forest that the three dwelling monkeys of Australia are facing due to the deforestation of their habitat. Piccinini’s first photograph in the series is a monkey looking on as a father, holding his young daughter’s hands, crashes through the three to show the little girl the lot that will be cleared to build their new home. The photographs continue to depict the effect that building this new urban area, in what was once their forest, has on the monkeys. The new house is only the beginning of a litany of changes that come with urbanization, highways and entertainment centres that have a devastating impact on the monkeys and their environment.


“Big Mother”, also part of this collection is a sculpture by Piccinini that features a Neanderthal woman nursing a human infant, lying at the woman’s feet are a designer diaper bag and hand bag. This dramatic visual rendition of what we once were and what we have became. The Neanderthal representing what we once were at the beginning of the time when man was in harmony with nature and environment. ”Nature’s Little Helpers” is only one example of Patricia diverse collection and extraordinary talent as an artist. Her collections have been shown in public and private galleries around the world. Piccinini’s fantastic and hyper-realistic sculptures of animals and machines have extensive international allure and challenge her viewers to an ethical debate about the world in which we live, forcing us to question our morality of certain issues. Piccinini’s art crosses the boundaries of the human and animal species, treading fine line on the grotesque, provoking deeply ambivalent emotions in the viewer. Her monstrous, mutant and repulsive forms of life convey science and society, portrayed in these creatures recreated by the artist’s imagination and impressive range of media that the artist dominates.

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