Portraits of a Predecessor

As well as leaf prints, I made life-sized cyanotype prints of my father  in the Netherlands where he lay  down on a large piece of cyanotype canvas on the land near where where he was born and spent the first five years of life before immigrating to Australia. This work is a special and personal piece, representing the ancestral lands of my father, encapsulating his shadows, symbolising past and distant connectionsInterestingly, the blue and white of cyanotypes is very similar to the blue and white of Delft pottery. 

 Therefore, the blue and white I used to make these prints has come to represent my Dutch heritage, something that is unfamiliar, but a part of who I am. It also represents my passion and love of the sea. In contrast, the earthy tones achieved in the leaf prints and plant dying represent Australia, where I was born. Many of the patches of the Dutch maple leaves and Australian maple leaves were stitched into and around my fathers  figure, representing our mixed heritages and coming together from two lands. The blue background also gives the impression of leaves, floating on water, like leaves that have drifted to shore from faraway lands. In Portrait of a Predecessor I bring together two worlds, the land and the sea and the place where my ancestors are from and the place where I belong, representing the importance of ongoing exchange and respect.
Example of traditional Delft ceramics, Photo taken at the Rjikesmuseum, 2016



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