Born 1957, Maryborough, Queensland. Lives and works Melbourne, Victoria. KuKu (Cape York) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) people.
Destiny Deacon is a descendant of the KuKu (Far North Queensland) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) people. An artist, broadcaster and political activist, her performative photographs, videos and installations feature members of her family and friends as well as items from her collection of ‘Aboriginalia’ – assorted black dolls and kitsch. Partly autobiographical and partly fictitious, her acerbic and melancholic work deals with both historical issues and contemporary Aboriginal life and is informed by personal experience and the mass media. Deacon’s humorous works examine the wide discrepancies between representations of Aboriginal people by the white Australian population and the reality of Aboriginal life. In her ‘lo-tech’ productions, Deacon creates an insightful comedy that is effective in establishing a discourse about political, Indigenous and feminist concerns.
Deacon has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since the early 1990s in solo and group shows. Her major survey exhibition Destiny Deacon: Walk & don’t look blak, was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004, and subsequently toured to Wellington City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and Cultural Centre Tjibaou, Noumea, New Caledonia in 2005, and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo in 2006. Selected group exhibitions include Who’s Afraid of Colour?, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); 13th DongGang International Photo Festival, DongGang Museum of Photography, South Korea (2014); Whisper in my Mask, TarraWarra Biennial 2014, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2014); Land, Sea and Sky: Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands, Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011); Integracion Y Resistencia En La Era Global, 10th Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba (2009); Revolutions – Forms that Turn, 16th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2008); and Culture Warriors: The National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2007).
Deacon’s work is held in the major state galleries of Australia, and in many regional, corporate and university collections.