Jessie Adams is originally from Darwin in the Northern Territory. She is a second year student studying a Bachelor of Arts/Visual Arts at the Australian National University.
Exploring issues of gender, culture, identity and memory in her practice, Jessie prefers to work with analogue photography and uses darkroom printing techniques to produce her images.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
- Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself'
These works are rooted in a particular kind of violence, the echoes of the 'wild time' of early Australian history, a place where a man could nail 40 pairs of human ears to a wall and display them as trophies. A time when human beings became symbols used to 'prove' Western superiority over 'primitive' Aboriginal groups. These confrontations between white settlers and the Indigenous population resulted in cruelty that is hard to make sense of in our modern time, but we as the current generation have inherited regardless, and have a responsibility to investigate in the name of moving forward. How do we live in history now?
Truth is a narrow path through dark thickets. I have investigated my own personal history against the backdrop of Australian colonialism in the hope of unravelling, interrogating and possibly re-imagining historical truth through my own eyes. I am not trying to regurgitate history, rather deconstruct it. A photographer and her subjects are protagonists in a critical cultural discussion. It is not only a struggle for power, for control over representation, it has become for me a questioning of how reality is recorded and passes into history.
Title: Do Not Yield To Despair
Medium: Black and white photographs
Dimension: 39.1cm x 26.8cm
Date: April 2009
Title: To The Wall
Medium: Photographic installation
Dimension: 13cm x 13cm
Date: May 2009
This piece was created in response to the artist's perceived lack of Indigenous content in the Australian Journeys gallery.