Destiny Deacon

1957 | Maryborough, Australia
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Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

© Photo: Destiny Deacon and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Australian photographer.

Originating from the Aboriginal nations of Kuku (northern Australia) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait), Destiny Deacon grew up in Melbourne where she worked as a teacher, hosted radio shows and wrote scripts for television series. Self-taught, she has been practising photography and video since the 1980s. Through deliberately ambiguous scenarios, she explores notions of race, sexuality and gender, and the denigration and violence that have marked Australia’s history (Forced Into Images, 2002; Tax Free Kangaroos, 1992). The artist stages dolls, tourist objects, Chinese ornaments and costumes in various situations as metaphors of contemporary life to denounce the Western stereotypes projected onto the Aboriginal people (Blak Lik Mi, 1991; I Seen Myself, 1991).

These scenarios evoke complex emotions that intertwine with each new vignette, composing entertaining and provocative stories (Dreaming in Urban Areas, 1993). Gender issues are also addressed. For example, in Draclubra (1998), where she associates the figure of Dracula with the word lubra, which means “woman” in one of the 250 Aboriginal languages. For many years, Deacon has collaborated with artist and writer Virginia Fraser to create installations and videos that explore racism and stereotypes. In 1991, she invented a variation of the word black for the Blak Lik Mi series. By choosing to describe herself as blak, the artist decided to use the language of the colonisers and to present herself in a process of self-determination and self-expression, a practice common to many urban artists.

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Géraldine Le Roux

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Tax Free Kangaroos, 1993, gelatin silver photograph, 48.4 x 49.2 cm, NGA, © ADAGP, Paris

Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Dolly Lips (B), 2017, light jet print, 23.5×39 cm, private collection, © ADAGP, Paris

Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Two fishes out of water, 2017, light jet print, framed, 127 x 102.3 x 4 cm,  Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, © ADAGP, Paris

Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Travelling from Oz series, 1998-2003, light-jet print from Polaroid, framed, 224.4 x 124 x 5 cm, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, © ADAGP, Paris

Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Pacified, 2005, light jet print from orthochromatic film negative, framed, 96 x 119.5 x 3cm, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, © ADAGP, Paris

Destiny  Deacon — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Destiny Deacon, Escape, 2017, light jet print, framed, 127 x 102.3 x 4 cm, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, © ADAGP, Paris

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