Leilani Leon

Age of Dispersion

Artist Statement

Whitewashing denotes the disregarding of people. Imperialism inflicts grave political, cultural, psychological and economic harms on the colonised, the casualties of avarice. This work exposes acts of dominance; a reappraisal of white-centred historical narratives that excluded peoples of colour, minority groups, and ‘otherness’. The gridded canvases are representative of unique cultural textiles, the composition suggesting a quilt with aged and damaged segments. The grid-like separations of the canvases also allude to longitude/latitude boundary maps of the colonialists. Combined, these elements portray both the ethnic diversity that makes up the world, and a reality seemingly still stuck in conversations of mid-century.

Artwork Process

The study of the work of Christopher Pease and Yinka Shonibare has provided evidence as to how artworks can communicate through the nuanced development of historical symbols and motifs. Cultural and contemporary contexts have been drawn upon as a means of communicating the significant and uniquely blended notions of identity, globalisation and culture in the contemporary world. In this work, I honed my fascination with realism and the layering of materials and mediums, in order to capture the multiplicities of culture, with a Dürer grid forming the basis of my composition.

About the Artist

  • Name: Leilani Leon
  • School: St Hilda’s School (Southport)
  • Artwork: Age of Dispersion
  • Media: Oil, muslin, organza on canvas

I am an Australian citizen with Chinese and French ancestry. As such, I have been exposed to the juxtapositions and ironies of my multiculturally diverse background, forcing me to engage with the historical dissonance of my own upbringing. This evolution of cultural context has worked symbiotically with my artistic practice, where I have incorporated this knowledge into my work. In the same way that artworks are vehicles for change, cultural awareness shines a light on the ever-changing and diverse global landscape we inhabit. I have come to appreciate my multi-faceted cultural identity, as a foundation for reflection, expression and connection.