My name is Deanne Gilson. I am a proud Wadawurrung woman and award winning visual artist working in paint, clay installations and most recently photography. My art practice and current PhD research look at the objectification of Aboriginal women by the male colonial gaze and how this has affected Aboriginal women and what was known as traditional women’s business. I create contemporary art to heal, disrupt and challenge the male colonial gaze, through a reflective process. I am highlighting and bringing back women’s business through my art practice and research, further linking this to the revived practice of ceremony.
White Kitsch, Black Bitsch is a ceramics range that I have created to further understand the implications of the colonial gaze. Although satirical in nature, it does not hide the serious affects of the patriarchal colonial male gaze.
I have always used the vessel as a metaphor for the body and this has been an ongoing theme within my work over the past thirty years. I love spending Saturdays making small clay pieces at my kitchen table, referencing the 1940’s, 1950’s and 60’s kitsch and Australiana Aboriginal souvenir objects. For me they are pieces of my childhood that I grew up with and they influenced me not only in the aesthetic look of the objects, but also the psyche of how we place objects in our home to decorate and give us a social standing. The objects represent how well you are doing in one sense and how you are placed in society. The link between the woman hard at work in the kitchen, the feminist, the feminine, the lover, the slut, the homemaker, the play between what an Aboriginal woman in a contemporary setting is doing in the kitchen are all elements I like to play with. Of course I reflect the white Australiana kitsch object and transform my own into realistic depictions of what I think is black kitsch. Black bitch was a term I have heard constantly in my lifetime and no matter how many times I hear it, the same sense of disempowerment overcomes me each time. My ceramics range title White Kitsch, Black Bitsch
, is meant to disrupt and challenge the viewer giving a voice to the derogative term.
Other people and things in general that I love and who are my constant ongoing inspirations are: My nan Rita Dalton, my mum Marlene Gilson (an amazing artist in her own right), my sister Tammy and all of her beautiful handmade adornments, all things 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s kitsch, including clothing and ceramics, the whole Twilight series, EK Holdens, Vincent Van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Pablo and Palamo Picasso, Clarice Cliff, Gloria Thancoupie, Elisabeth Cummings, Margaret Olley, Criss Canning, Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, Janet Fieldhouse, Tracey Moffatt, Destiny Deacon, Tony Albert, Maree Clarke, Mandy Nicholson, Dewayne Everttsmith, Kylie & Danni Minogue, Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson, Rick Astley, The Bay City Rollers, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, my amazing mentor Professor Estelle Barrett and most importantly my two gorgeous boys Blair and Maxi boy.