l a u r a e. k e n n e d y
graphic design + visual art
C O L O N I S E D s e r i e s
My most recent body of work continued my trademark of blurring the line between the artwork's edge and the surrounding frame. After including some minor additions to the frames in my previous works, this was the first series where I also designed and constructed the ornaments featured on my spandrel frames using 3D printing.
In designing these adornments, I sought to explore evolving expressions of National Identity. As an Australian of solely European descent, I feel disappointed by the concealment of our full history in favour of the simplistic symbols of our native flora that are so often enthusiastically paraded upon many a souvenir. To attempt to address this, I sourced and manipulated environmental elements from a staple of our societal expression of identity: Australian banknotes. This appropriation is my effort to acknowledge how our natural surroundings exist purely as a result of the British invasion of a land that had been inhabited for at least 60,000 years. Simultaneously, I am alluding to the irony of how we take pride in presenting the same natural environment upon our currency that is so often decimated in its pursuit.
The works I have created are consistently guided by the Western Canon and aspire to emulate the great European masters. But by using birds from my surroundings on the other side of the planet, it would be disrespectful to divorce this aspiration from the way colonising Europeans saw and treated the Indigenous population upon arrival. So through each title, I have ascribed a clearly fictitious narrative to the native Australian birds as a way of referencing the degradation of Aboriginal people and their culture. By naming each subject after a well-known Aboriginal person with a European Christian name, I am hoping to distance myself from appearing to presume to speak on behalf of Indigenous Australians. Instead, I’m wanting to present myself as an outsider who is seeking to bring attention to the continuing impacts of colonisation.