- PhMuseum 2021 Photography Grant
Dates2014 - Ongoing
A body of work focusing on Australia's suburban landscape and the complex relationships that transpire in the underbelly of seemingly dormant towns.
‘In Australia’ is an unveiling of the idle facade of small town suburbia, exposing the complexity and weight of intimate relationships and the meaningful yet destructive threads that hold communities together in these seemingly dormant and futile landscapes.
Using constructed realities, Tajette draws on her own adolescence to explore her instinctive connection to home and how these profound formative years have shaped her adult life.
In this work, the concentrated and complex themes of adolescence are brought to light in secular frames that heave with dark undertones, bleak landscapes and internal burdens that disproportionately weigh on the young subjects she features.
The listless nature of a slow paced suburban existence is marked in the stillness of the subjects, anchored in relationships where intimacy is forged through adversity and devotion is blurred with dependency.
In Australia is an ongoing series that began in 2014 during a road trip from Melbourne to Lismore as I was heading back to my hometown for Christmas. As we passed though the slow, seemingly lifeless towns, in the hot Australian heat at Christmas time I began to notice an ominous feeling that triggered memories of my adolescence, growing up in a small town suburban setting and the events that took place during those years. I always felt this desolate and empty feeling was emphasised at Christmas time, where Australians celebratory efforts are reduced to tinsel on the chip shop ceiling fan, or drunks in thongs wearing Santa hats at backyard BBQs and it didn’t feel very festive to me.
My adolescence was fraught with complicated and traumatic events that took many years for me to even stop to think about. Among witnessing best friends in domestic violence relationships at fifteen years old and seeing wild brawls down town every weekend, violence was prevalent and common place in my world. Friends parents sold heroin, and my sister was in rehab by 19. My teenage boyfriend, a gorgeous, charismatic Aboriginal Bundjalung boy was murdered in prison at 20 years old while serving time for a non serious offence.
Working on this series has been an avenue back into my home town and a confronting and healing investigation into my own identity and the distinct psyche of Australia. Instead of running away I’m finding comfort in the narrative of my past, scrambling to get back there.
EXCERPT FROM A RECENT PIECE I WROTE FOR 'TWO INADEQUATE VOICES' ABOUT 'IN AUSTRALIA'
"1597Km, straight up the Hume. I was six months pregnant and we were heading to my hometown for Christmas. Heading back home was never easy for me. He wasn’t there any more and he’d never be there again. It felt depressing and I couldn’t make sense of how my past could ever coexist with my life now. I had cut every tie that might lead to even think about all the things that had happened back then. These days Lismore felt like the ghost town it always was, but now I was no longer even part of the undisclosed happenings in the undercurrent of the town, the clandestine life force that pulses in seemingly dormant places.
Apart from a few reindeer antlers on car roofs and some tinsel wrapped around the side mirrors of a passing semi trailer, you wouldn’t have really known it was almost Christmas.
Christmas has never really felt like Christmas to me, not how I’ve ever thought it should feel. Christmas time in Australia is like an extended Sunday afternoon in a dead end town with empty streets and closed shutters. The shops all shackled together like obedient troops with inoperative neons , lifeless ceiling fans and a hint of tinsel. It’s an Australian thing."