Cassandra Downs is an Australian ceramic artist living in Naarm (Melbourne). Her current body of work is focused on zoomorphic vessels, with aesthetic and structural influences from Pre-Columbian Peru and Neolithic Europe.
She is a self-taught artist, who worked as a Graphic Designer for several years before leaping into a full-time ceramic practice.
Vessels have always captured my attention. As a child I was particularly obsessed with ancient Egyptian artefacts. Their zoomorphic shapes are so evocative and powerful, and I always felt attached to that aspect more than the beautiful adornments and colours.
As I began to delve into the root of my ceramic practice I was again drawn to these vessels. When I came upon Peruvian blackware (specifically of the Chavín and Chimu cultures), the combination of palette, technique and subject matter felt exactly like home.
I wanted my emulation of this ancient practice to mirror the fauna surrounding me - not just georaphically, but historically too. Megafauna are theorised to have become extinct on this continent around 46,000 years ago. Yet their shapes can still be seen in the ancient art of our First Nations people, the oldest enduring culture on our planet. Shaping these animals as vessels is to capture and consume their forgotten essence.
I reside on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and I pay my repects to Elders past, present and emerging.
Always was, always will be, aboriginal land