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Quarter Caste (Caste Collection), 2021

120 x 90cm. Acrylic on canvas

  • Caste Collection

    The Caste Collection is a series of works inspired by the vitriolic treatment of Aboriginal people of mixed heritage to diminish their persuasiveness in debate about racial issues in Australia. Each canvas is brutally divided into fractions or portions of white(ness) and black(ness). ., 1/3, ., 1/6, 1/8 and so on.


    This is Konstantina’s personal response as an Aboriginal woman, a Koori, a proud Gadigal mother and advocate for constitutional change. It is meant to reflect the bigotry and racism that tries to diminish Aboriginal culture in Australia by the notion of diluting the amount of black or 'Blackness'. Reflecting on some of the often heated discussions in Australia around who can identify as Aboriginal and the concept of “diluted” heritage. For Konstantina no dilution of ‘Blak’ is possible.


    Artists Statement:

    The Collection is made up of three distinct groups of work.


    The first are distinctly Black and White to represent the black and white ancestry of an individual. The coloured dots are made of ‘skin tonal colours’ identified by the paint company Matisse. These different skin colours represent the supposed ‘dilution’ or perceived imperfection in both the black person and the white. As the expression goes, nothing is ever simply just Black and White.


    The second have been painted in panels of black and natural ochre and pigments. The works produced in this group represent the natural world and indeed how obtuse it is to nominate an amount of Black in that natural world. It cannot be a “part” thereof, it just doesn’t work, yet at some level it does work to include Black. In this group I hope to provide pause and reflection on whether or not black is or is not obtuse to the canvas and its natural inhabitants painted atop or if indeed I should have include slices of white?


    The third are deliciously simple. Each canvas is wholly drenched in local ochres and pigments to illustrate how harmonious nature is when it is at one with its creator, mother, Earth.



    Konstantina (Kate Constantine) is a proud Gadigal woman of the Eora nation and a neo-contemporary indigenous artist. She is re-imagining the traditions of her peoples’ dot painters and providing a modern narrative for all Australians to better understand First Nations People as part of the fabric of Australia.


    As a descendant of the Gadigal people, she is passionate about her Language, Culture and histories, much of which have been lost, misplaced or manipulated since the dawn of colonisation. Through her extensive research Kate is truth telling the real histories of her people and is actively involved in revitalising the Gadigal language via her collaboration with Sydney University to breathe life into the original language of the Eora Nation.


    Her artwork tells of these histories, connecting to Country, and directly relates the struggles, inspiration, challenges and daily turmoil she feels at being a mum, a storyteller, a creative, a woman and above all a connected Aboriginal person to the land, the animals and spirit of our Country into her modern contemporary take on a time honoured tradition of dot painting.


    Using acrylics, ochre, natural pigments and sticks found on mother Earth she sits quietly for hours producing works on paper, canvas and at scale for public art projects. She now resides with her husband and three young children on Bundjalung Country where she is inspired by the nature that surrounds her and her sons.

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