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Heather Dinas: The Space Between & 33” 24” 34”

Head On 2011 Portrait Prize finalist Heather Dinas’ work has been described as lush and emotively charged. There is a sensual physicality in her work and a fresh contemporary enquiry into the portrayal of women. Female archetypes are depicted in a non-traditional light – as empowered muses with voices of their own.

In the her series The Space Between (showing upstairs at the Wagner Art Gallery from May 15 as part of the Head On Photo Festival) traces the fragile lines of relationships – beginning with the first ripples of sensual awareness to the tentative exchanges that shape our identity and memory.

The narrative – a discourse about female rites of passage – explores the roles of women from the construct of the virginal bride to a young woman’s sexual awakening. The crumbling interior evokes another time, another place, based upon the culture of my matriarchal lineage. “As a teenager, my mother’s perceptions of her coming of age era were sealed in a vacuum, floating, isolated, never changing,” says Dinas.

“Our personal history has the power to determine our sense of belonging and identity. I use the camera as a mirror, questioning gender roles, rites of passage and intimate relationships.”

Issues of gender and identity make for a compelling narrative in her art, apparent also in 33” 24” 34” (showing at DNA from May 4 as part of the Head On Photo Festival).

This work is with Sophie: a professional model and university student who works for a Union as an advocate for worker’s rights.

Sophie developed her skills as a passionate Union representative whilst navigating the international fashion world. She struggled to retain her identity in an industry where being surveyed and critiqued is a constant.

Sophie made the following statement when she first saw 33” 24” 34” profile.

“In the photo where the tiles meet the wall it creates a line that meets my line of sight. The brain is like it is above water and safe, and the body is immersed. Modelling and fashion were all consuming and I tried very hard to keep my head above it. It is so easy to get swept away.”

Heathers’ work has been widely exhibited and features in many Australian and International collections.

In 2011 Heather exhibited as a finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize and as a core artist in The Ballarat International Foto Biennale.

Recently Heather has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 Josephine Ulrick Win Schubert Photography Award. The Author John Armstrong has written the following about her exhibitions in the BIFB.

“Dinas is discovering and creating an emotional vocabulary and image – repertoire that we need today … We go through life, longing for something, hardly knowing what it is – some distant fulfilment, some meeting of minds, some sense of ultimate arrival and belonging. Yet we are creatures of the here and now: we are sensuous, immediate – we need to touch and hold, and see and feel directly. And the great task of art down the ages has been to discover how these two can meet – clutch the intangible, hold onto what is fleeting, give silence a voice.”

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage