Photo Jenni working on bridge deck of the Polar Bird at Casey Station, Antarctica 2002.
Jenni Mitchell was born in Eltham Victoria and continues to live in Eltham at the family property. Jenni’s parents, Grace and Arthur arrived in Eltham 1948 and lived in a small cottage on the land between Fordhams and Mt. Pleasant Roads in Eltham where they began creating an orchard garden with numerous fruit trees, vegetables and chooks.
Grace built and opened a pastry shop soon after using the produce from the organic garden.
As the only child; Jenni grew up amongst the local artistic community that frequented the pastry shop and ‘knew’ when you grew up it was only natural to follow your passion and follow an artistic pursuit.
‘My first exhibition was on my mother’s front verandah, age 5. I followed on with painting lessons at Montsalvat under the artist Lesley Sinclair and later Alan Martin. A Fine Art Degree from RMIT (Phillip Institute), a Professional Writing and Editing Diploma (NMIT) and a Masters of Visual Art from Monash University.
A love of wild and remote landscape has taken me to the desert regions of Australia and in particular The Flinders Ranges and Lake Eyre regions of South Australia. The salt crust of a dry Lake Eyre drew a parallell to the ice and I followed this with being awarded a fellowship from the Australian Antarctic Division to work as an artist-in-residence aboard the Polar Bird ice vessel sailing to Casey Station. I was later invited to work as an artist-in-residence to the Arctic on another ice breaker, The Kapitan Klevnikov and in 2010 to Norway working on the Hurtigurten Steamship vessels along the coast. Also in 2010 I took my first journey to Mongolia with my husband, artist musician Mervyn Hannan. We travelled to Khenti in the Siberian region of Mongolia near the Russian boarder. In May 2012 we will be returning to Mongolia to exhibit in the History Museum in Ulan Bator.’
Through Grace’s legacy, Jenni and Mervyn have turned the family home into a gallery. The Gallery, Eltham South Fine Art: Studios and Gallery exhibits the work by the late Grace Mitchell, Mervyn Hannan and Jenni Mitchell and invited artists.