Indochine depicts a woman navigating the conflicting cultural pressures of the East and the West.
Exuding visual luxury and vivid sensuality, the artworks plunge the viewer into a colour-saturated
dreamscape. The series explores the encroachment of Western fashion within Asian cultures and the
struggle for authenticity amidst contemporary influences.
Behind the amplified colouration and ornamental intricacies are symbolic elements that offer clues to
the underlying stories. My images reveal what lies hidden, and in the portraits can be found
fragility and adaptability, vulnerability and resilience, compliance and resolute self-expression. The
women captured are torn between the cultural values and expectations of their times and a deep
interior struggling towards individuality.
Informed by my multi-cultural upbringing, with three adopted Asian siblings, Indochine explores
identity and how Western influences have intersected with Eastern traditions and values. It also touches
on the methods available to women to express a changing cultural identity by altering their appearance.
While such shifts are sometimes presumed to be a relatively new phenomenon, the artworks explore
how this blending of Eastern and Western cultures has been happening perceptibly for centuries.
Shot in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the works were created over an
eighteen-month period involving international collaboration, extensive research into fashion and set
design, and overseas travel. I went to great lengths to source the couture costumes,
hand-crafted jewellery and relevant props to bring my artistic vision to life.
I also worked with a long list of skilled artisans. including Larry Edwards, the Head
costume designer for Cirque Du Soleil, to design and handcraft the elaborate period collars. I
also commissioned an artisan in Greece and the UK, a set assistant and a seamstress in Saigon to
construct the painstakingly detailed bodices and costumes, as well as an artist in China who handpainted
the bespoke Chinoiserie wallpapers.
The set featured a live yellow albino Burmese python and a macaw bird as portrait props. The rare two
and a half metre-long snake was brought onto set by a Saigon python handler, and draped precariously
around the model. The exotic bird was sourced through macaw enthusiasts who met fortnightly at a
Saigon café and agreed to lend me the bird. Its dazzlingly rainbow-coloured feathers capture
the viewer’s attention in the Jacquerie portrait.
Born in Whyalla, South Australia, and raised in central Queensland Samantha Everton credits
her unusual childhood as instrumental in fostering a creative mind. Growing up with a biological
brother and three adopted Asian siblings, Everton spent hours fossicking for gemstones under
the wide blue skies of remote mining towns. Hers was a colour-saturated world. Although not
directly referencing her own family experience, multicultural themes and notions of identity
continue to influence much of her imagery.
Everton graduated with a Photographic Design Degree, RMIT 2003 and subsequently achieved
success in a great number of prestigious awards.
Everton has exhibited widely, with more than twenty solo exhibitions to her name.
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