Collection leads: Kate Beynon—kindred spirits
Kate Beynon—kindred spirits is part of the ‘Collection leads’ series of exhibitions that draw on major works held in the Geelong Gallery collection to build a deeper understanding of the artist’s practice.
This painting, Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones (2014–15), represents a significant moment in an ancient Chinese myth, An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale, when the ghostly form of An-Li makes a nocturnal visit to his grieving mother. In Beynon’s contemporary interpretation of this scene she incorporates recognisable symbols and personal references including a heart signifying the connection between An-Li, Rose and his mother, a hand emerging from a lotus flower referring to Kwan Yin/ Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, hybrid animal/human skeletal figures that act as memento mori, lion-dogs symbolising Beynon’s Chinese zodiac year,
and oranges representing the offerings made by Buddhist ancestors.
Dig deeper—identify symbols in Kate Beynon’s painting and compare them to other symbols you have seen in other cultures and media.