Penny Parry has had a long standing attraction to the story of Alice in Wonderland. Being an only child, she found nothing odd about this strange group of imaginary characters [Penny had make-believe friends who were very real to her when she was a young child] nor about the little girl who was so curious.
“It was the very first story book I ever had as a little kid,” she reminisces about the adventurous story that inspires many of her artworks. “I don’t think I am stuck in the past, but I do value thinking about what I learn and what I bring with me.”
To Penny, the story not only speaks to her underlying curiosity in everything, it also continuously feeds her creativity. Creating imaginary childhood friends, she has fallen in love, since a very young age, with the joy and delight of the fantasized world. With curiosity comes the willingness to be open to new opportunities and risks. As she matures and discovers the world around her, she becomes fascinated in biology. This has inspired her to study how humans think and act, prompting Penny to devote time and energy to the exciting field of child and youth care work.
It is not surprising that Penny was drawn to Child and Youth Care – a field which is based on the belief that relationship is key to healthy human growth and change. Penny believes that without opportunities to relate to other people, we do not learn to be caring and risk becoming selfish and narrow-minded. Understanding that even a small gesture of kindness can make a difference in peoples’ lives, Penny is driven by the mission to step out of herself and support others wholeheartedly. The experience of working with young people has instilled in her a deep appreciation for relationships that not only connect, but also inspire and empower.
She draws inspirations for creating intriguing and meaningful artworks from her extensive involvement in the area of social services. She enhances her understanding about human relationships also through her studies in psychology and commitment to a plethora of other professions, including teaching and advocacy.
By taking on different roles, ranging from community advocate to psychologist to university professor, Penny feels it’s important to go to different places – not necessarily far away, to ensure that she gets outside her own little world. In meeting unique individuals, she also understands the world through variant perspectives. Her expertise in a variety of fields showcases her ever-lasting curiosity for learning as well as her unabating passion in seeking different ways to help others and to contribute to the community. It also demonstrates her sincere love for human individuality.
Assertive as an advocate, Penny is unusually visual and personal in her artistic expression. Because of her strengths in the spoken language, Penny often integrates words into her art pieces. With a fine arts degree from Emily Carr, she mainly uses photography to capture and give life to objects, while presenting her own special observation and interpretation of the society’s fascinating phenomenon.
Penny Parry’s exhibition, ‘to have & to hold – the physical book: more than a quaint tradition’, will run from October 14th to November 17th. This fantastic exhibition featuring a 5-foot tall story book [an update on Alice of Alice in Wonderland], photography and found objects is both humorous and thought-provoking. She invites everyone to come to the artist talk on October 14th from 6-7 pm and also to the exhibition. By exploring the mixed media installation, visitors will find themselves thinking about what it would be like to live in a world where there are more virtual than physical experiences – to take part in a provocative conversation about both the benefit and harm of our move away from physical connection and experience.
“The more virtual world we are involved in, the less face-to-face interactions we have, and I believe that that will make a big difference in who we are and how we care about each other,” expresses Penny. “I hope everyone will come to the show to be a little bit more introspective and to have a fun time.”
‘to have & to hold – the physical book: more than a quaint tradition’ an exhibition by Penny Parry runs October 14th, 2016 – November 17th, 2016
Opening Talk: Friday, October 14th, 6-7 pm @ 1318 Cartwright St, Falsecreek Community Centre
Exhibition opening: Friday, October 14th, 7-9pm @ 1386 Cartwright St, Craft Council of BC