Patricia Piccinini (born in 1965 in Freetown, Sierra Leone) is an Australian artist. She was born in 1965 in Sierra Leone and emigrated to Australia in 1972 with her family. She studied economic history before enrolling at art school in Melbourne. Her mixed media works include the series Truck Babies, and the installation We are Family which was chosen to represent Australia at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Piccinini works with a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, drawing, installation and digital prints. Her major artworks often reflect her interests in world issues such as bioethics, biotechnologies and the environment. Her work has gained extensive international recognition.
According to the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia: "Piccinini has an ambivalent attitude towards technology and she uses her artistic practice as a forum for discussion about how technology impacts upon life. She is keenly interested in how contemporary ideas of nature, the natural and the artificial are changing our society. Specific works have addressed concerns about biotechnology, such as gene therapy and ongoing research to map the human genome. Piccinini often creates acutely aesthetic and appealing works as a means of discussing complex ethical issues; she is also fascinated by the mechanisms of consumer culture.
Piccinini likes to explore what she calls the "often specious distinctions between the artificial and the natural". She challenges our classification of life by displaying the relationship and differences between the organic, natural and our constructed material world. This inspires her to combine human physiology and technological development.
Jackie Randles summarises the ethical and emotional content of Piccinini's work as follows: "By giving her creatures subjectivity and physical features that are recognisably human, Patricia creates emotionally charged scenes that represent familial love, nurturing and caring. In response, a viewer might reflect...