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Destiny Deacon

Destiny Deacon’s sharp, often satirical and highly politicised practice involves photography, performance, video and installation. “Her work serves as a barometer of post-colonial anxiety, as a window of understanding for new generations of Australians turning away from the psychosis of the colonial relationship but seeking to establish a considered and meaningful grammar of images in an environment full of colonial memories” (Marcia Langton, ‘The Valley of the Dolls’, Art and Australia, vol. 35, #1, Summer 1997, p. 107).

Blak dolls are recurring motifs in Deacon’s photographs. “I think blak dolls represent us as people,” says Deacon. “I don’t think white Australia, or whatever you want to call it, sees us as people” (quoted in Virginia Fraser, ‘Destiny’s Dollys’, Photofile, 40, November 1993, p. 9).

Deacon’s photographs and vitrines of kitsch objects bearing appropriated Aboriginal imagery underscore the politics of representation at work in the history of Australian popular culture. These debased representations of Aboriginal people and cultures underscore the colonialist agendas at work in apparently ‘innocent’ objects.

Deacon’s work is also deeply personal. In Postcards from Mummy (1998), Deacon exhibits photographs of her mother and mother’s family alongside postcards from the areas of her mother’s youth. “When I finally took the journey, from ‘Cooktown to Brisbane’ to explore the placements in Mummy’s early life, I got to see that everything she said about the Land she spent her early life in was true, and I found out something about why she became so strong and independent” (Destiny Deacon, artist statement, published in Brenda L. Croft – In My Father’s House; Destiny Deacon – Postcards From Mummy, exh. cat. Australian Centre for Photography:Sydney, 1998).