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Destiny Deacon





Destiny Deacon

“An art that brings objects loaded with associations or effectively simulates events in real time and space, momentarily bridges the gap between modes of reception normally engaged by representations as opposed to direct experience. In the suspended state this induces the spectator may assimilate more readily an insight as their own.” —Destiny Deacon

Destiny Deacon often uses irony and humour to make challenging statements about Western perceptions of Aboriginal people, in this work, Draclubra, 1998, she makes a pun on the mythical Dracula figure, by incorporating the derogatory term 'lubra' used to describe Aboriginal women.

A special exhibition of two contemporary Indigenous lesbian artists, Destiny Deacon and Rea, were on display at the 2002 Gay Games in Australia.  Destiny Deacon explores ambiguous humour and kitsch to create intriguing social messages through photography, installation and video.

Destiny Deacon was born in 1957 of K'ua K'ua and Erub/Mer peoples in Maryborough, Queensland. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics) at The University of Melbourne in 1979 and a Diploma of Education at La Trobe University, Melbourne in 1981, after which she commenced working as a history teacher. She began taking photographs in 1990 and first exhibited her work that same year.
Deacon's work was included in Aboriginal Women's Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and Kudjeris, at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Sydney in 1991. She held her first solo exhibition, Caste Offs, at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney in 1993, and participated in Can't See for Lookin' - Koori Women Educating at the Access Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and Australian Perspecta 1993 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales that same year.

Deacon exhibited her work extensively in 1994 in exhibitions including Blakness: Blak City Culture! at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; An Eccentric Orbit: Electronic Media Art from Australia at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Urban Focus: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art from the Urban Areas of Australia at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and Tyerabarrbowaryaou II, as part of the 5th Havana Biennial, Cuba. She held two solo exhibitions, My Boomerang Won't Come Back, at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide and Smiling Dangerously at Hogarth Galleries, Sydney that same year.

Deacon participated in the exhibition Mistaken Identitites as part of Africus, the inaugural Johannesburg Biennale in 1995, and held the solo exhibition Welcome to Never Never at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne. Her work was included in Photography is Dead: Long Live Photography! at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the touring exhibition Abstracts: New Aboriginalities in 1996.

Deacon held the solo exhibition No Fixed Dress in conjunction with the Melbourne Fashion Festival at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in 1997, and exhibited in both Lawyers, Guns & Money at the Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide and Inya Dreams (part of the Festival of the Dreaming, Olympic Arts Festival) at The Performance Space, Sydney. She held the solo exhibition It Won't Rub Off Baby!: New Work at Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in 1998 as well as participating in Ceremony, Identity and Community at Flinders Art Museum Adelaide and the on-line exhibition Facing it at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. Deacon also works with video, and is a writer, broadcaster and performer. She was raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brunswick, where she works from her living room/studio.


Destiny was one of two Australian artists invited to the current Yokohama Triennale - the first major Japanese international art expo – from which she has just returned.

The photographs in this show form a narrative told in vignettes about a girl from birth to adulthood. It was partly informed by news reports earlier this year about violence against indigenous women in Australia. The show’s title borrows from an Alice Walker poem “ . . . forced into images, doing hard time for all of us”.

Her staged photographs are ambiguous, acerbic, ironic, naughty, touching and painterly. They use friends and family, dolls, and other toys and objects found round her house to confront and up-end stereotypes, and comment – sometimes savagely, on contemporary Australian life.

Destiny’s work has appeared in many major local and international exhibitions including the Yokohama Triennale (2001), Das Lied von der Erde (Kassel, 2001), Perspecta (1999 and 1993), Melbourne International Biennial (1999), the second Asia-Pacific Triennial (1996), the first Johannesburg Biennale (1995), and the fifth Havana Biennial (1994). She has also appeared in many other groups and solo shows.

Her work is held in most major public collections in Australia, and by private collectors.

Destiny is a teacher by trade. She has taught in state secondary and community schools, tutored at Melbourne University and been a staff trainer in the Commonwealth public service. She is also a performer, and broadcaster, and has written for television.

For further information, please contact Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, by telephone (02) 9331 1919 by fax (02) 9331 5609 or via our email form

Destiny is represented by Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery


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