Penny Howard graduated art school with a BVA in 1995, she has work in the collections of Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland City Council, Auckland Events Centre, Auckland University and The Chief District Court in Wellington. She has been a finalist in the the Wallace Trust Art Award, the Adam Portraiture Award and the Walker and Hall Art Award. She is Represented by Whitespace Contemporary Art Gallery.
Her works are an expression of the artist's narratives of finding ones cultural identity. Penny is of Maori (Te Mahurehure) Irish and Scottish desecnt. An exchange of dialogue takes place between Penny's sculptured wood silhouettes as they explore memories of whanau, whakapapa and ancestral stories against the backdrop of colonization and the Pacific Diasporas. The red thread in Penny’s work represents I Nga Wa O Mua, the Maori world view to take the past with us into the future for guidance.
Note about cover image "Mere & Child"
Mere and Child is a signature work from her 2013 solo show 'Te Kuri O Te Wao - You leave footprints in the soft earth of my heart’.
Te Kuri O Te Wao is Penny's Great 3x Grandmother, a Waima Chiefteness, Tohunga and Seer who was said to be the first Maori woman to be baptised a Catholic. She eventually renounced Catholocism as it banned the practise of her Maori religion. The silhouette of the woman and child is taken directly from a photograph of her Daughter Mere. The artwork features the Maunga and church of Waima and the Te Mahurehure guardians the Kahu and the Kuri (given to the tribe by Kupe) the black/purple dog who is the guardian of the inner forest and who Penny's Tipuna Wahine is named after.