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A Mentor’s Reflection

In 2019, I collaborated with members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the City of Monash on a photography and video project called ‘Being Ourselves.’ This initiative aimed to foreground the LGBTQIA+ community by providing a framework for their representation to be seen and their voices to be heard. I actively sought out individuals who were willing to share their stories and to be seen within their local community, as well as with audiences of the Museum of Australian Photography (previously known as Monash Gallery of Art). Together, we created a two-channel video installation and a series of black and white double-exposure analogue photographs that explored themes of gender, identity, and community. One of the subjects of the ‘Being Ourselves’ video and photographic work was Ruiqi Qiu.


Now, three years later, I have had the great opportunity to work with Ruiqi once again, this time as a mentor, and it has been inspiring to see how she has brought her unique perspective and methodology to engage with the LGBTQIA+ community in Monash.

Ruiqi’s interest in the relationship between reality and its photographic representation, as well as her exploration of different forms of language, inspired her project Untold Stories: Variation. Through this project, Ruiqi continued the dialogue with the LGBTQIA+ community in Monash, with a particular focus on how the pandemic had affected its members. Ruiqi took a three-part approach to push the limits of photographic representation, critiquing and questioning the ability of images and text to convey the complexities of human identity, experience, and feeling. Her project is reminiscent of Martha Rosler’s seminal work, ‘The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems' (1974-75). However, Ruiqi's project also incorporated sound and extended conventional photographic representation through abstraction and her unique style of carving into the surface of the photographic prints themselves. By fusing her own visceral imprint into the creation of her series, Ruiqi asks her audience to consider the experience of the group she is representing while also seeking to critique and extend the limits of the medium of photography itself.

Dr. David Rosetzky

Artist, mentor and MAPh Committee of Management member

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