Rhett D'COSTA (AU)
Holding Hands, 2018
109cm x 162.5cm
The Australian landscape and its inhabitants, (both indigenous and white settler) are documented in art and history in a somewhat checkered way. What this image attempts to do is bring another discourse into the space of the Australian bush – that of the contemporary migrant, the Asian-Australian, asserting their presence and validating their sense of belonging, on their terms, in their own dress codes and body language. The image should be plausible – yet it remains strange, as strange as images of early white settlers who attempted to bring Englishness (through dress codes and other social behaviors and attitudes) to the Australian landscape.
Rhett D'Costa is an Asian Australian multidisciplinary artist whose professional practice spans nearly 30 years. He holds a BFA, MFA and PhD from RMIT Australia. He has exhibited widely both in Australia as well as Dubai, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and US.
D’Costa's multidisciplinary projects have centered on exploring the role of resilience and optimism in the intersecting areas of migration, multiculturalism, identity, nationalism and belonging. His research has focused on ideas connected to culturally composite ethnicities, mixed race communities and the negotiation of the porosity of place, belonging and identity. More recently, the notion of ‘right to belong’ has extended his interests in identity formation in terms of sexuality and culture. These interests take into account shifting social and political circumstances and the tensions and consequences of mobility and migration in transnational environments.