Profile: Jenna Pippett

Jenna Pippett only graduated from art school last year but she is fast becoming an artist to watch.

Earlier this year Pippett was chosen to be part of the prestigious Hatched exhibition at PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Art), the only national graduate show of its kind. The exhibition is a great opportunity for some of ;the industry’s brightest stars to rub shoulders. “Meeting everyone over there was fascinating.It was great to part of such a big thing,” says Pippett. Last month her work featured in the SouthAustralian Living Artists (SALA) exhibition My Roots Will Set Off to Seek Another Land at the Adelaide Airport which also included fellow Adelaide Central School of Art alumni Nic Brown, Lucy Turnbull, Ruby Chew and Glenn Kestell. The airport exhibition was not just great exposure but also the perfect location for Pippett’s artworks which explore ideas related to family and in particular her Eastern European heritage. She has always been interested in her family’s migration to Australia – her mum came here from the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia at the time) when she was around four years old. “My mum was born over there so I am the first generation born here. After my grandparents pass away that’s the last connection to the family over there. I don’t really speak the language and I am trying to learn it from my grandma but that’s an adventure of its own,” explains Pippett. My Roots Will Set Off to Seek Another Land included two of her artworks, Babička (Czech for grandmother) and Svatba meaning wedding. The first work is a projection work where an image of her grandma is projected onto an image of Pippett’s body. “I am wearing all white and posing as she is and you can see the resemblance in size and shape.” The latter work is a wedding portrait where she has superimposed herself onto her grandma’s side of the wedding party. Through works like this Pippett explores family connections and the line from her grandmother to her mother to herself. She is looking at how she fits into their world. “It’s trying to preserve and discover these connections and play them out. It’s important because they are getting older. Family dynamics have always been an interest for me.” While these works are very personal, as Pippett explores her own identity through delving into her family history, she believes that other people can identify with the works. “Everyone has family so I think everyone understands the quirks. Even if you don’t you know someone who does.” Another way Pippett makes her artworks accessible to the viewer is through the use of humour. “Humour is something I am pretty big on. It can get quite loaded when you talk about family history but it can also be quite fun.” Images: Jenna Pippett

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