Artist Profile: Beau Pennefather Motlop

Artist Profile: Beau Pennefather Motlop

Words by Annie Parry

With a rich and diverse background, Beau Pennefather Motlop was born in Auckland, Aotearoa but grew up in Cairns (Gimuy) in the tropic and lush surrounds of Far North Queensland. His Indigenous heritage stems from multiple cultures and tribes including the Jirrabal tribe (Aboriginal), the Wagedoegam tribe (Torres Strait Island), Ngapuhi (New Zealand) as well as lineages in Scotland. 

Inspired by the natural landscape of his home and from his bloodlines, Beau has always had a keen interest in art and Indigenous culture, with his key focus centred around the ocean and marine wildlife that inhibits it. His brilliant depictions of the Giant Trevally, a powerful and large fish found in the Great Barrier Reef that Beau has felt a personal connection with since a boy, are a focal part in his creations. 

Beau’s style of art is produced digitally, encompassing traditional illustration of dot work and intricate patterned linework to form various native animals on deeply vivid and colourful backgrounds. These pieces are often accompanied with bold messaging on the conservation and awareness for both the animals and their cultural significance to his people. Often in collaboration with local conservation and not-for-profit organisations that work to preserve these species, Beau uses his illustrations to help bring more awareness and understanding to this agenda. 

Shifting his focus recently on political movements such as Reconciliation Week and famous Indigenous people; including Nova Peris, Lionel Rose and Eddie Mabo, Beau exhibits a contemporary style of simple outlines to pair in stark contrast with his traditional line work. This wide scope of styles and subjects showcases the extremely talented and versatile artist that Beau has become, and here at BW Tribal we simply can not wait for what he produces next. 

Beau recently collaborated with BW Tribal with his design ‘Ancient Knowledge’ for our NAIDOC 2023 range: 

Also make sure to read more about Beau’s art and stories behind his work on his socials: