I am looking at the Port of Fremantle as the maritime gateway to Western Australia for immigration from allover the world, creating our culturally diverse society.
My work investigates how culturally displaced immigrants negotiate their identity in a foreign land.This work investigates how these identities are past down to future generations and the construction of these hybrid identities from a variety of sources in context to place and time as well as stereotypes.
Although my own experience as an immigrant is not through the Port of Fremantle, my work is concerned with the exploration and contextualisation of the space which I inhabit as I negotiates my own cultural identity. This is specifically in response to displacement and physical dislocation from my original culture.
This work continues my exploration of my own pluralistic cultural identity informed by a collection of information and objects from my family archive. The works I have created are traces, voices, memories and images that are blended and embedded in my own history, encounters and interpretations.
This exhibition examines contemporary views of Australia’s relationship to the land, and to each other. Through the theories and family histories that inform the work of Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Pamela Kouwenhoven and Eva Fernández, we are given an insight into the complex nature of Australia’s 21st century identity and the importance of land in the formation of a personal and national sense of self.
The title of this exhibition is taken from William Wordsworth’s poem Where lies the Land to which yon Ship must go?. Romantic in style, the poem describes a journey by sea to an unknown land; it is a metaphor for the journey of the soul to the afterlife. It expresses the mixed emotions that accompany a trajectory that is unidirectional and irreversible. In the Romantic sense, the First Fleet’s journey from England to Australia was to the ‘after life’: they were leaving behind forever a certain life in the old world for a new and completely unpredictable world far from familiar shores
And what of Australia’s Indigenous inhabitants at this point in history? While visits from foreign seafarers were not uncommon in coastal areas, none had stayed for any period of time, nor in any great number. On that portentous day in May 1787, the Indigenous peoples throughout the country could never have anticipated how irrevocably their lives were about to change, as boat loads of people from an alien land and culture sailed their way. Their ancient world was about to clash with a new world.
The story of colonial and federal Australia is primarily one of struggles and divisions, possession and dispossession. From the moment the First Fleet landed, the relationship between the colonisers, the Indigenous peoples and the land has been fraught: agrarian versus hunter-gatherer modes of subsistence; civic versus nomadic living habits; proprietary versus custodial notions of land ownership; imperial versus ancestral constructs of knowledge and law.
Karen Zadra, 2014