Remote Panamanian community provides artistic inspiration

 Armilla, Never Give Up
Armilla, Never Give Up

Kevina-Jo Smith’s Never Give Up is an immersive installation, combining film, photographs, textile panels and costumes to enact a collective consciousness around the ever increasing environmental threats facing our planet.

The exhibition is formulated as a direct response to Smith’s experience as artist in residence in a remote Indigenous community in the Guna Yala region of Panama.

Smith’s art practice is focused on connecting the material world with the imagined - global with local. She weaves an intensely personal visual language as a means of addressing social, environmental and political issues. Her multi-layered installations often incorporate upcycled and found materials, with each component being delicate and time consuming to create. This slow and labour intense process is Smith’s tribute to the natural world and a ritual against destruction.

The experience in Panama was deeply personal for Smith as her art has always focused on environmentalism and political issues.

“I am excited to share what I learnt spending time with the people in Armilla, a remote Indigenous region of Panama,” she said.

“My art practice revolves around raising awareness about environmental and social issues and it feels relevant to continue making work about these very universal issues, particularly in the Blue Mountains, a precious world heritage area.”

Never Give Up is on at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. On Friday, July 20, Smith will help eight to 14-year-olds make tiny treehouses. From 10.30am-12.30pm. Bookings essential at reception or 4780 5410. Or join Smith in conversation on Saturday, July 21, 11am-noon. Free with gallery admission ticket. RSVP appreciated on number above.