For me, a young Australian woman, the delayed discovery of my Aboriginal heritage was very surprising, and had great significance upon my artistic practice. It was this transformative news that triggered the photographic project What Hasn’t Shaped Me. My aim was to convey my cultural heritage and how I had no knowledge of this information until my early adulthood. For the purpose of this post I’ve added in a few of the original photographs that were taken so you can get a good look at my groovy flared pants, Greek fisherman hat & Mona Lisa tee – all of which I’m completely obsessed with at the moment!
To create this series I utilised a variety of sources, including recent self portrait photography, images from my childhood, specific pages from the book Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence by Dorris Pilkington Garimara, and traditional indigenous artworks I painted myself. I purposefully included multiple layers to represent the abundance of ancestry I have now begun to discover. The visual components of my images included various miscellaneous shapes that served as windows into my past and were composed through the layering technique in Photoshop. Two artists that I was aesthetically inspired by were Damien Blotteiere and Rocio Montoya whom have differentiating contexts but similar imagery with digital manipulation and hand-cut collage. In terms of contextual influence, Tracey Moffatt similarly explores her own cultural legacy. As opposed to Moffatt who has grown up with this knowledge, my art depicts how I am trying to make sense of this information now. Through making this portfolio and focusing upon my heritage it has made me look at old images with a different mindset which is why I have intentionally presented this serious theme in playful, interesting and colourful way.
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Creative Direction / Photography / Model: Cheianna Wilson