Boorloo (Perth) multidisciplinary artist Nathan Beard present a mischievous reflection on Thai diasporic identity and its construction in A Puzzlement.
Drawing on his Australian-Thai heritage, the artist places items from his own family archive alongside broader cultural objects. Juxtaposing his mother’s Buddhist shrine statues and 90’s fast-food Thai-themed toys, Beard playfully interrogates ideas of authenticity and the complex influences of colonial archives, pop culture, and collective memory in forming western characterisations of ‘Thainess’.
Encompassing reproduced artefacts and archival objects, installation, film and photography, A Puzzlement pokes fun at pre-existing notions of taste and value – high and low, historical and sentimental – interweaving elements that may be considered ‘exotic’ or kitsch from one perspective, and mundane and every-day from another.
The exhibition presents works created during Beard’s 2022 residency at ACME Studios in London, drawing from his research into the archives of The British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Film Institute and Kew Gardens.