I seen myself, 1991-2003
light jet print from Polaroid original
121 x 158.5 cm; (framed)
Edition of 15

The subject matter of this diptych, along with its counterpart Blak lik mi, has a convoluted backstory, in many ways emphasising Destiny’s incisive and subversive approach. Both works consist of Destiny’s blurred photographs of painted reproductions of photographs taken in the 1950s by British Australian photographer Axel Poignant for a photographic novel he titled Piccaninny Walkabout (later changed to Bush Walkabout),[1] a story of two lost Aboriginal children.

This photo-essay marked one of the first instances of representations of Aboriginal children in print. Poignant’s photographs, intended neither as kitsch nor derogatory, were widely reproduced without his permission or knowledge, eventually becoming sought-after and costly collectibles scattered through antique markets and vintage stores imbued, perhaps, with a sense of knowing irony.

Destiny refers to these types of objects as ‘Koori kitsch’ — discarded bric-a-brac donning Aboriginal cultural designs and motifs that perpetuate overtly racist stereotypes. Her extensive collection of these items, amassed over many years, exist in part because she ‘feels sorry for them’. “In the beginning I wanted to rescue them, because otherwise they’d end up in a white home or something, somewhere no-one would appreciate them,” she says.

[1] Piccaninny is considered an offensive term for an Aboriginal child.

Installation view; Destiny Deacon I seen myself, 1991-2003; light jet print from Polaroid original; 121 x 158.5 cm; (framed); Edition of 15; enquire
Installation view