So a couple of weeks ago, we established I have a very talented niece. Now it is time to share with you one of my children’s talentss. My daughter is in Year 12 and is busy putting together a portfolio for her Year 12 Visual Arts. Her first assignment is called Culture and Spirituality and she is playing with the paradoxes between the first world and the third world. As African migrants, we have this duality that has coloured our lives and that, as a family, we have struggled to make sense of and to be at peace with based on our choice to leave Africa and live in Australia. My daughter was inspired by the work of the Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura who uses the technique of appropriation (the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them) to create new art works that carry a new message. She was also inspired by the work of David Lynch (recently showing at GoMA, Brisbane) who uses a shock factor extraordinaire in his work. In her work, my daughter has combined the work of artists who have taken photographs of human suffering in South Africa and she has applied an acrylic technique over the photograph and placed them into billboards that advertise traditional fast food chains. The irony of the overlay is obvious but the message is powerful. Putting aside paternal pride and admiration, what her work has caused to happen in me is to really explore this idea of appropriation. How have I appropriated the life lessons and words and images and creations of other humans to help me create my own life?
What I’d like you to do is think about is how appropriation is used by you in the design of your life. In addition, are there any new words, lessons, images and life-artists’ work you could incorporate into your appropriation that could make your self-expression more uniquely you!