“The pandemic has unbound the thread that stitches us together and we are fighting our way to regain a sense of who we are after so much has been taken from us. I have felt that we are collectively facing a state of stagnation, not only in our day-to-day lives but how we treat others and ourselves.” Joahanna Wickramaratne, Identity constraint
Congratulations to Class of 2020’s Joahanna Wickramaratne (Wheelers Hill), Jaime Morcos (Wheelers Hill) and Adam Shimota (Caulfield Campus), who have been selected for the 2020-21 TOPshots Exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art.
TOPshots is an annual celebration of the top emerging secondary photomedia artists at MGA. Established more than a decade ago, this award and exhibition showcases work produced by students who have completed the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) subjects of Art, Media and Studio Arts, as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Visual Arts.
The exhibition is also a wonderful opportunity for emerging artists to exhibit their works.
Joahanna Wickramaratne – Identity constraint
Identity constraint explores the theme of ‘stagnant identity’. I wanted to explore the physical representation of how our self-expression is hindered through the way we, as a society, hold one another back with our banal perceptions of people and culture. The hands are a metaphor for the force of society pulling us back. The claustrophobic framing and repetition of hands is intended to communicate the idea of encroaching darkness. We are pulling each other back into a void of darkness.
The pandemic has unbound the thread that stitches us together and we are fighting our way to regain a sense of who we are after so much has been taken from us. I have felt that we are collectively facing a state of stagnation, not only in our day-to-day lives but how we treat others and ourselves. My work also allowed me to speak out about how I have always felt stuck in the way I can express myself, out of the fear that society won’t accept me. Now more than ever, I feel this tension in society and the voices of those who want to be heard, suppressed.
Adam Shimota – Eyes through buttons
I have experimented with the application of one of my most personal collections of buttons through the process of scanography to capture a form of identity. The uniform and intentional shape of the buttons (such as circles, teardrops and triangles) pairs with concepts regarding my awareness of the shift from childhood to adolescence, and how I fit within a domestic, familial space. Scanography allows for a compression of space. When this is combined with the overall collective appearance of the buttons scattered across the image, a smothering and enveloping appearance is created that is seemingly endless. This develops a subtle and unsettling aesthetic quality that is enhanced by my realisation that the button holes mimic a pile of eyes.
The scanned image was printed on organza, and subsequently photographed to achieve the final appearance. This allows for a more visible layering of the buttons, creating a rhythmic and textural appearance. It’s interesting the way the buttons are subsumed into the textured fabric’s warp and weft. Normally, the buttons cover up the fabric on which they are sewn, but this appears like the fabric is the primary layer and the buttons are almost a ghostly presence.
Jaime Morcos – there’s a possibility
Inspired by my overall theme of escapism, there’s a possibility represents external escapism. The overall earthy, green colour palette of the image creates a sense of tranquillity that assists the fantasy-like atmosphere created by the overgrown foliage and moss. The contrasting white light seeping through the windows draws the viewer deeper into the image, urging them to escape into the beautiful, mystical environment of the photograph.
View the TOPShots Exhibition online: https://www.mga.org.au/exhibition/view/exhibition/272