Franki Birrell

“From the beginning I have been interested in the depth and unspoken feelings of people; in how humans and animals adapt to, survive and become part of their environment and this is how I develop my paintings.

I work in thin and transparent layers;  in most cases the landscape washes over the characters in vibrant colours.

This reflects my love of living things, nature and beautiful creations like art, music, literature and architecture and the thrill and freedom I feel absorbed in these surroundings.”





“I like to think of these timeless stories as not only about the difficult reality and adversity of life, but about an inspirational message of quest and hope, two of the great human characteristics”.

Franki Birrell’s early works  were of herself and friends. Later she depicted the soul of the indigenous dreamer, the heart of Australia and the essence of Australian culture. The images were of childhood memories in outback Victoria where she spent time with Aboriginal people and of her experiences travelling throughout Australia . Some of these images were part of an exhibition held at Queensland House in London in 1989.

Later work dealt again with the Australian landscape and some of its remarkable features overlaying them and incorporating mythology and personal symbols beyond pure physical elements. Many people who have experienced the presence of the Glasshouse Mountains for instance, or the Olgas, would have been well aware of the pervading spirituality.

Franki continues to explore these imagined images drawing from the mythology of Egypt, China and other countries she has visited and whose stories weave a familiar thread of man’s evolvement and place on earth.

She was captivated by the story of Isis and Osiris for the elaborate breadth, depth and purpose of the mythology; the symbols, uniquely Egyptian, but often informing other cultures and religions. "I like to use the symbols in my own way, for instance forming the eye into a peacock feather to represent the search for Osiris, or perhaps alluding to the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology."

For her latest works on the Chinese legend “The Butterfly Lovers” she has woven the garments into a diaphanous representation of the butterfly wing; the characters merging with, and emerging from, their surroundings.