Destiny Deacon: Walk & don’t look blak
Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
26 Nov 2004 – 30 Jan 2005
Guest curator: Natalie King
Destiny Deacon: Walk & don’t look blak was the first museum survey exhibition of the work of the Aboriginal Australian artist Destiny Deacon. Spanning 15 years, this exhibition demonstrated Deacon’s versatile and innovative practice including photographs, installations and videos produced using relatively straightforward, low-tech methods: what the artist herself calls ‘el cheapo’.
Deacon makes her work in her suburban Melbourne home, replicated in the opening installation My living room, Brunswick 3056 (1996/2004). Deacon creates uncanny, beautiful, frightening and funny vignettes of contemporary life from her domestic surrounds, utilising predominantly Aboriginal friends and family as collaborators and subjects, as well as her large collection of ‘Aboriginalia’ and black ‘dollies’. Dolls are given personality and life within a melodramatic arrangement of props and Deacon’s trademark ‘blak’ humour. The original function of such objects is overturned by the artist, who questions historical representations of Aboriginal people through the kitsch artefacts of popular culture; their playful appearance is often shadowed by more sinister forces of racism, incarceration and violence.