[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Raymond Zada – At Face Value

Artist Statement

2′ 33″, HD video.

To take something at face value is to believe the way the thing appears is the way it really is. At Face Value challenges some people’s narrow views of what an Aboriginal person looks like. As the faces morph, viewers are asked to shift their paradigms and accept, at face value, that the person they’re looking at is Aboriginal. In an international context, the dominant culture in most countries attempts to define aspects of who their first nations peoples are; and it’s often reinforced through stereotyped images. In Australia, this is primarily done through tourism advertising.
In reality, First nations peoples and cultures are far more diverse and sophisticated than is convenient for the dominant culture to acknowledge.
At Face Value is a series of 25 portraits of family and friends.

  • Raymond Zada is an Adelaide, Australia-based visual artist working primarily with photography, video, and digital design. He’s also an award-winning radio broadcaster with 13 years’ experience in production, presentation, and technical operation. In 2013, Raymond won the New Media category of the 30th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award for his piece, Sorry. Sorry examines the complexities of Australian history and the disconnect between language and reality. In 2012, Raymond won the Works on Paper category of the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award for his piece, racebook. An edition of 10, racebook has been acquired by several public galleries in Australia and overseas as well as private collections. In 2010, Raymond was a writer, producer and performer in OutBlak Adventures. The show toured regional South Australia and explored themes of family and sexuality. This confronting, educational and emotionally engaging production won a Ruby Award for Community Impact Under $100,000. Born in Adelaide in 1971, Raymond grew up in Port Augusta and Marree, South Australia. He is Aboriginal (Barkindji) with Afghan and Scottish heritage.