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Words and images by Aishah Kenton

By May 29, 2023August 22nd, 2023The Collective

Four years ago I found out I had a different name at birth. I was getting married and I read my name on my birth certificate and discovered previously unknown details of my origins. I was in shock.

Photography has always been my craft and medium to process life experiences so this was no exception. How has being adopted at birth influenced me , how has finding out these details changed my perception of myself and my family?

As this series developed I found it became an exploration of how family history influenced my upbringing and cultural identity. Others like me who were adopted at birth would have to navigate their own reorganising of everything they thought they were. For me it is photography that is helping me discover new aspects of my family history, overlaid with my own recent migration and personal navigation of individual and cultural identity.

The series is called Orchid, after my adoptive mother’s favourite flower, and the national flower of Singapore. The way she nurtured and made artwork from these flowers resonates with her nurturing of me, her adopted daughter.

Photo Collective

Photo collective represents photographers, advocates, educators and curators working towards the collective goal of celebrating and contributing to the changing ecology of Australian photography. We achieve this through award recognition, publications, exhibitions, community engagement initiatives and educational programs.

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