This series of work was created during my residency at Metro Arts, Brisbane and reflects the personal experience and photographic journey of a Chinese Vietnamese Australian exploring cultural memory through the suburban landscape of Inala, Brisbane.
Before my exploration, I had little knowledge of this neighbourhood, but I had been informed that it is one of the largest Vietnamese community settlements in Brisbane. I set out on my journey with little expectation of what I would find to indicate the presence of the Vietnamese community. I found very little in the changing face of the suburbs, in fact it was not until I reached my destination that I found some representation of Vietnamese temples, churches and bilingual commercial signs.
Home is a very personal space where you can feel safe and comforted. My exploration explores the liminal space; the private and public spaces of the Vietnamese diaspora through the handmade photographic instrument of the pinhole camera. The non-descript suburban facades of the houses in Inala are typical box like structures made up of four walls and a roof, similar in design to my pinhole camera. The dark interior space of the pinhole camera can be likened to the interior spaces of the suburban homes in Inala, which testifies to the occupant’s continual re-imagination and recreation of a lost or yearned for homeland. Whilst it is usually not possible for refugees to return to the land they fled from in the past, a move of any kind from their new homeland would in some instances enact a symbolic, or even real, erasure or separation from the lost or idealised homeland that finds manifestation through the inside spaces of their homes.
The landscape images in the Full Circle series were also created with a pinhole camera. The importance of the dimensions of the inner space of the pinhole camera invites us to consider the connections between the inside and outside spaces that create the resultant images. The relationship can reflect both a separation and/or a connection between these worlds, just as the homes or inner worlds of individuals living in diaspora conditions can also reveal degrees of connection and/or separation. In this sense the pinhole is a metaphor and not just a vehicle for the exploration of home, shelter and memory.
© Dacchi Dang, 2013 All rights reserved