Destiny Deacon

Oz Games - Under the spell of the Tall Poppies, 1998-2003
light jet print from Polaroid
100.0 x 80.0 cm
signed, dated, titled and numbered (lower margin) 12 from an edition of 15


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Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003

Another example of this image is in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Another example of this image was exhibited in:
'd-tour', Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 14 August - 6 September 2003
'Destiny Deacon: Walk & don't look blak', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 26 November 2004-30 January 2005; Cultural Centre Tjibaou, Noumea, New Caledonia 1 June - 28 August 2005; ADAM Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand 2005; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 29 April - 11 June 2006; Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 2006

Another example of this image is illustrated in:
E Macgregor, N King, B Croft, L Reihana, D Mundine, M Langton, R Bell, H Perkins, 'Destiny Deacon: Walk & don't look blak', exhibition catalogue, MCA, Sydney, 2005 (illus. front cover & p. 67)
B French & D Palmer, 'Twelve Australian Photo Artists', Piper Press, Sydney, 2009, illus. p.44

"Dorothy lies inert, perhaps delirious, on a lion's lap, resplendent in a red costume with tiny sparkly shoes and a bow in her hair. Deacon's rendition of the Judy Garland Technicolor classic - 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939) - replaces the enchantment of the dazzling land of Oz with the TIn Man holding an axe adjacent to a dishevelled Scarecrow. This is no Emerald City. Positioned below a row of poppies, Deacon's title alludes to 'tall poppies' and an Aussie version of this famous road movie. Here traits are exposed, feelings and mixed emotions uncovered in a parodic setting. Characters seem to be acting up and acting out." (N King, 'a laugh and a tear in every photo', ''Destiny Deacon: Walk & don't look blak', exhibition catalogue, MCA, Sydney, 2005, p. 18)

  • Oz Games - Under the spell of the Tall  Poppies

Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

View artist profile

Destiny Deacon is a KuKu (Far North Queensland) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) artist. Born in Maryborough, Queensland in 1957, Deacon is a photo artist, video maker, performer, writer and broadcaster who stimulates ideas about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander politics. Her work references racial stereotypes in art and popular culture, as well as suburban and childhood objects and imagery to bring to light the demeaning, bizarre and racist depictions of Indigenous Australians in film and televsion, black children's dolls and in kitsch decorative objects. Deacon once said of her images that "I like to think there is a laugh and a tear in each picture", a sentiment that captures perfectly the competing senses of innocence and tragedy that underlie her artworks and ideas.

After working alongside Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins as one of his "Angels", Deacon began working as a photographer with her first solo exhibition, Caste Offs, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (1993). Since then, she established her place as a major Australian artist domestically and further afield, showing at the prestigious Documenta 11, Hatje Cantz, Germany and major festivals and biennales in Yokohama, Japan (2002); Johannesburg, South Africa (1995) and Havana, Cuba (1994). As much a cultural figure as an artist, she is credited with introducing the term "Blak" to describe Indigenous Australian art and culture.

In 2020, Deacon received the largest exhibition of her work to date, DESTINY, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, which looked back on three decades of photography, installations and other works. Her 2004 major survey, Walk & don't look blak, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, toured to the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo, the Tjibao Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia and Wellington City Gallery, New Zealand.