Cordons by Narelle Cridland
The romantic notion of the eucalyptus tree celebrates a sense of something that is uniquely Australian. Its majestic and iconic image provides a sense of self-identity and connection to country for Narelle Cridland; an Australian expat with Indigenous heritage, now living in Hong Kong. The representation of the gum tree provides a cultural vessel that Cridland uses as a symbol to explore identity.
The eucalyptus tree is a self-portrait in Cridland’s images, but also a barrier or a cordon through which she navigates her complex cultural identity, heritage and contemporary influences and boundaries.
Peppered with clusters of trees, the picturesque Australian landscape offers an abundance of obstacles. Each scene is interrupted with an impenetrable barrier dissecting the view and obstructing the viewer’s passage, bringing them to a point of negotiation. Each image holds a quiet discomfort. Cridland’s photographs reveal cultural divides; the spaces between the familiar and the foreign.
Cridland meticulously engraves each image by hand, scraping back the emulsion of the photographic paper. This process allows the gum tree to be situated in diverse locations creating a sense of dislocation and disconnection.
Cridland completed a Master in Visual Arts (Painting) in 2006; a Bachelor of Arts in (Photography) with Distinction in 1993; and a Graduate Diploma (Art History) in 2011. She was a finalist in the sixth Prospect Portrait Prize, Adelaide, as well as the Voices of Women Competition, Hong Kong in 2015, and her solo exhibition entitled Living China was presented at the Hong Kong Fringe Club. Cridland has exhibited nationally and internationally.