My Australia collection of works sprung from my time living in Perth, Western Australia, from 2012 until 2014. During this time I learnt about the past struggles of the Indigenous people, at the hands of the British and other European explorers and conquerors. From expulsion from their own land, to unwarranted violence, to what can only be described as ethnic cleansing, masqueraded as government initiated ‘Westernisation’ and ‘civilisation’. Not only have they suffered all of this and more, but they continue to suffer from lack of land rights, drug abuse, domestic violence, racism – the list goes on – which in my opinion is part of a consequential cycle and remnant of what happened them in the past.
This collection is inspired by the Aboriginal belief that land and place are not a material possession, but something which is part of yourself – you belong to it as much as it belongs to you. I have created a series of portraits which are either on maps or become cartographical drawings, lines, shapes etc. Each one represents an imaginary identity originating from the place he/she depicts, and is built up of a number signifying that place through the degree of latitude it sits on. Each feature of the face – the contours, the creases, the curves – represent the features of the land. These works are a celebration of that ethos of land as self, country, home and identity.
For this series I have created works of varying sizes, from 15 x 10 cm to 180 x 120 cm, using date stamps, as well as potato stamps carved into numbers.