Ku Ku/Erub/Mer peoples
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia born 1957
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, light- jet print from Polaroid original
Destiny Deacon’s professional practice encapsulates a type of photography that moves and shifts across the realms of playful melodrama, politick and wicked humour. This subtle layering underlines and reveals an edgier sensibility that exists at the very core of her work. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of Deacon’s practice, as a self-taught artist, has been her willingness to embrace ‘lo-fi’ processes to produce art. Budding Aboriginal art students are encouraged by her belief that ‘you don’t have to be financial to make art’— a pertinent point given that many of these students, if statistics are to be believed, are more likely to be earmarked and destined to grow up below the poverty line, rather than graduating with a secondary school qualification.
Deacon utilises Polaroid film to create an image that is then scanned and printed as a large light-jet print. Where’s Mickey? is a real-life black studio photograph of an Aboriginal model complete with white gloves, ears, dress and shoes. It is as much a commentary on race and gender politics as it is a moniker for the well-known cartoon character brought to life by the Walt Disney Company in 1928. Deacon has been an important part of a broader Aboriginal photographic practice along with her long-time non-Aboriginal collaborator Virginia Fraser. Deacon uses the pointy end of humour to illustrate the dichotomies that continue to exist in a uniquely Australian Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal context affected by American mass media. She asks the opened-ended question from an Aboriginal perspective: ‘Where’s Mickey?’
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010