Water Over Skin II

Daphne Cazalet

Cazalet’s migration to Australia in 1982 “has since given me an absorbing critical and analytical focus on my individuality, identity, colour, culture, and creativity,” and her paintings reflect these issues of self discovery, culture, and race.

Art Exhibition previously on at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Fraser Coast precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Friday 03 October 2008 to Sunday 09 November 2008

Behind the Gaze image

Published by anonymous on Monday 06 October 2008.
Contact the publisher.

“Like water over skin it washes over boundaries and fl ows as tiny rivulets seeping into the landscape, a journey that knows no bounds,” Cazalet states with the authority of an artist who fully understands her own practice, with the knowledge of a woman with vast cultural experience, but also the curiosity of a person still very much on a journey of self discovery. “The patterns I create are refl ected in water then refl ected back. I see myself washing myself. I see my skin clearly and the patterning of lines spill away, around the next border into another space, another country. I am left with my skin and my colour.”

Born in India during a time of colonial domination and the Indian caste system, Cazalet migrated to Britain with her family in the 1950s. Though not fully grasping the difficulties that awaited an ‘Anglo-Indian’ in Britain at the time, it became evident to the artist that a segregation of classes, and indeed races, had not been escaped. Cazalet’s own migration to Australia in 1982 “has since given me an absorbing critical and analytical focus on my individuality, identity, colour, culture and creativity.”

These issues, this process of self discovery – covering issues ranging from hybridity to diaspora, shame to gender and cultural identity – are explored in Cazalet’s work. The paintings “weave through stereotypes of colonial myth founded by English historians and writers of fixed, political notions… Between are half-hidden texts – ‘maps of identity’, personal diagrams – roughly drawn[and] rendering analysis of the effects of mixed-race and culture, colonialism and migration.”

Dense in meaning, the paintings themselves lie somewhere between painting and printmaking. Cazalet, understanding her craft better than anyone else could pretend to, remains adamant that she is a painter “inspired by printmaking in its use of layering fine work, and the ability to edition different series on paper.” The process of creating the paintings involves painting or screen-printing a background, and using a squeegee to create “energetic shape, line and tone according to pressure on layers of varying densities of colour and texture.” Much like the issues of self discovery, culture and race she navigates in her work, the process places the work uncomfortably, but fittingly, in a context of its own waiting for discovery.


Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
Cnr Denham St and Flinders Mall
Townsville QLD 4810

Mon – Fri: 10am – 5pm
Sat – Sun: 10am – 2pm
Closed Public Holidays