Going through photos on a friend’s phone is a fun way to glimpse their everyday world. Photographer Kristabell Porter’s “selfie booth” installation, Ngayuku Ngurra Tjarra (This Is My Home), at Revealed plays on that visual rush.
An annual exhibition that brings artists from WA’s Aboriginal art centres to the city, Revealed explores life and culture in some of the state’s most isolated communities. In Porter’s case, takeaway impressions include space, heat and the desert horizon. Yet despite the vast landscape, the people in the frames feel nearby and somehow familiar. Perhaps this is because Warakurna is a close-knit community of 180 and the photos’ subjects are looking at the person behind the camera with affection.
“My family is here, my boys are here and it’s where I grew up,” says Porter. “The landscape is beautiful and I’m able to make art and tell stories about this place that I love so much, so that I can share it with the rest of Australia.”
Emilia Galatis, the coordinator of Revealed who has worked with Porter for three years, describes Warakurna as very remote western desert. The recent arrival of mobile internet in the region has had a major impact on Porter’s approach to photography, with the artist now taking more digital photographs on her phone.
“What we think is an everyday occurrence is quite modern for the desert, but as people don’t have storage systems they’re also quite transient,” says Galatis. One solution, she says, is storing these images at Aboriginal art centres so artists can draw on them for future projects.
Porter hopes her installation will show people that, although she’s a long way from the city, her life isn’t so different to ours.