Challenging cultural stereotypes involving racial bias, of what women should or shouldn’t do, success and failure, Australian artist Tracey Moffatt seeks ‘cultural justice’ for minorities through her photographs and videos, which is pertinent since she herself is of aboriginal ethnicity.
In one of her earliest works, The Movie Star (1985), which features an aboriginal person trying to look cool at the beach, raises the question of why Aborigines can’t be movie stars and fashion models, since at the time there weren’t any in Australia.
In quite a bizarre but poignant piece of artwork, the Scarred For Life (1994) series of photographs, Moffatt reenacts scenes from people’s life stories in a graphic display of the domestic injustices that go on daily in Australia, and in any other part of the world actually; a girl gets the job by being more flirtatious, another girl finds out the real name of her father when her mother throws her birth certificate at her and other boys and girls get called derogatory names by their respective parent(s) or siblings.
There is no doubt about the emotional and psychological damage to a young person that gets lied to by their parents or siblings or other authority figures (like a teacher etc..) and the fact that people lie to each other to feel better about themselves is, ubiquitous and has existed probably since mankind figured out how to speak. But as to why Moffatt felt so strongly about this issue to turn it into an artwork is a bit puzzling.