EVER PRESENT DESTINY DEACON FORCED INTO IMAGES T-SHIRT
The title of this work comes from a letter by African American writer and activist Alice Walker: “‘I see our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, captured and forced into images, doing hard time for all of us.”
Drawing on this idea, Destiny Deacon’s playful but poignant work invites us to consider how identity is performed and represented. In this silent film, two First Nations children – the artist’s niece and nephew – show childish restlessness as they laugh, cry, eat or react to an offscreen instructor. Playing with half-face masks that feature images of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, they each adopt an alter-ego for the camera. The contrast between their playful innocence, and the historical and personal weight associated with racial stereotypes, gives the work its critical undertone.
Destiny Deacon, G'ua G'ua/Erub/Mer peoples, Virginia Fraser, Forced into images, 2001, single channel moving image, Super 8 film remastered as digital file, 9:09min, silent, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, purchased 2006, © Destiny Deacon/Copyright Agency, 2022