In Australia - PhMuseum

In Australia

Tajette O'halloran

2014 - Ongoing

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.

ARTIST STATEMENT

‘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.

In this body of work, I use constructed realities to explore the psyche of Australia’s suburbia, where loose recounts of my adolescence are re-enacted, displaying a cinematic aesthetic. Rich colours and light/dark contrasts are used to enhance the narrative, highlighting a moment captured in an unfolding story.

Signifying the anticlimactic closure of the day, the images are set predominately at dusk. Undesignated identities appear in bleak isolated landscape where the intimacy and hope languish against an atmosphere of idleness, apathy and stillness.

The work is a significant recollection of my profound adolescence growing up in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

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