Black Picture Image Gallery : photographer-chronicles-the-new-african-diaspora


going above and beyond
Jun 18, 2004
north philly ghetto
retired computer geek


Atong Atem was 6 years old when her family left her native South Sudan, migrating through Ethiopia to a refugee camp in Kenya. Soon after, they migrated to Australia. As such, from a young age, Atem identified herself as an outsider, caught somewhere between past and present, her current setting and the place she calls home.

Every young person grows up plagued with questions about who they are, where they belong and who it is they want to become. The already knotty journey to construct your identity becomes additionally complicated when issues of race, gender, sexuality and colonial history come into play, incorporating complex narratives into an already tangled sense of self.

Now an art student based in Melbourne, Atem is still viscerally aware of the way a single person can occupy many times, places and cultures at once. In her photography series “Third Culture Kids,” Atem crafts staged and stylized portraits of other such individuals, Australia’s second-generation African youth, exploring the ways race, colonialism and history play into one’s constructed sense of self.

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