Portraits of the Middle-Way
14th September – 14th October 2015
Malawi is described as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ by many, Olivia’s fascination with this country centered around the people and their experience of life, so different to her own busy American world. It wasn’t until 2008 however that Pendergast made the trip- the first time she had ever left the U.S- and discovered for herself the true nature and beautiful simplicity of the Malawian people, prompting her to create her colourful, honest and simple figurative series mirroring that of the people she encountered. Pendergast states:
“Africa is big. Everything there is big. I realized in all of that, my own bigness and at the same time my own nothingness”
Pendergast's work has featured in shows all over Utah, Malawi, Ethiopia and now Dubai. She has one several awards including: ‘Best Painter in Utah’ (2007 City Weekly), ‘1st Place and Honourable Mention at the 2004 UVSC Woodbury Museum and Best of Show at the 2004 American Association of University Women.
Her portrait-style paintings are of African people she has encountered during her travels. Their clothes and accoutrements betray no sense of time or identity. But the sense of their psychological presence is disturbing. Long after you have moved away from the picture, you will find yourself wondering what their images are about.