Petrona Morrison – Statement

Artist Statement

This body of work evolved from my investigations into representations of self through the photographic image, the “selfie.” The investigation continued with a series of “portraits” which are intended to raise questions about the nature of internal and external representation, and reflect ongoing concerns in my work about genetics, personal experience, and their relationship to the construction of “self.”

The underlying topography of the body is explored to reveal individual markers, mediated by genetics and environment. The skin, as exterior, is juxtaposed with objects/DNA/code in a process of “mapping.” The Topography series presents the body in the context of a broader discussion of “our place,” as part of an “unknowable” continuum.

Responding to the proposed NIDS legislation, and ongoing states of emergency, I started exploring how race and class intersect in how the images are received. Using the image of a young boy, the Passport/ID series seeks to comment on stereotypical images of young black males, to affirm them and to connect them to my ongoing concerns related to internal/external representation, and the ways in which images construct identities and perceptions.  †

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