It’s unsurprising that Shaunagh Keenan was influenced by Greek culture when she was growing up in Melbourne, Australia, home to the largest population of Greek people outside of Greece. “My mum read Greek mythology to us, and I continued to love the fascinating stories of beastiality, sensuality and iconography,” said the 52-year-old travel agency owner who holds a fine arts degree in painting. Although Shaunagh didn’t pursue a career in art, it has remained another passion, and her current body of work embodies her enchantment with mythology.
And now Shaunagh is proudly presenting her fanciful, feminine and folkloric, painted ceramic tablets at the new Plataion56art space in the hip Kerameikos neighborhood of Athens. When Anna Aspasia Theodorakis decided to open the gallery, she wanted its first solo exhibit to feature the art of her longtime friend. The two women met almost three decades ago on the Greek island of Paros, when 20-something Shaunagh was a barmaid who served drinks to Anna and her friends. “I had traveled to Greece from Melbourne when I couldn’t find a job in art after graduation,” Shaunagh said. She’s been to Greece many times since then and has kept in touch with Anna.
Each of Shaunagh’s organically shaped, one-of-a-kind tablets features a different female figure from Greek mythology, painted in happy colors. “Many people would say I’m a ceramicist, but I say that I’m a painter,” Shaunagh said. “I make the ceramics myself and I like organic shapes because that’s the appeal of Greece to me. A lot of the buildings are sort of organic, not ordered and perfect.” The Tasmanian hardwood frames are handmade by Shaunagh’s partner Chris in the back room of their house in Melbourne. Finished pieces, measuring 13 inches by 13 Inches, are $273 plus shipping. “I didn’t want to price them too high,” she stressed.
Interestingly, Kerameikos was originally named for the potters who settled there 3,000 years ago. It was also the site of an ancient Greek and Roman cemetery used until the 6th century AD and rediscovered in the 19th century.
Shaunagh’s work is on exhibit through October 10, 2019. If you’re interested in purchasing one of her pieces, email Anna at email@example.com. They would make original gifts for the favorite women in your life and would look wonderful hanging anywhere, from a home office to the guest bathroom.