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Do I Seduce You?

Throw back to February last year, and queer Darwin artist Tarzan JungleQueen was hitting the track to Alice Springs, successfully selected for the Travelling Artist Residency at Watch This Space, the only Artist Run Initiative in Central Australia.

The residency attracted the highest number of applications in 26 years, with Tarzan heading to the Red Centre for the month to focus on their project, Do I Seduce You?.

Fast-forward a year, and their exhibition is set to occupy the walls at the Northern Centre of Contemporary Art.

“In 2019, I was given the opportunity to be part of Octopus…a story project where they engaged artists to go through a six-month mentorship to create a book or work for publication,” they explain.

“Through that, I started working on a book called Do I Seduce You? – my first foray into illustrated text which explores queer bodies and gender, mostly my own. It’s mostly visual but the text included is done through a process called poetry collage, which was the first time I found words to relay my message.”

For 33 years, Tarzan believed there were just two genders. Never feeling connected to their feminine self, they filled their body to the brim with an unhealthy amount of sludgy green masculinity. At 33, Tarzan spent four months locked in the darkroom making art with their fellow mutant-bodied friend.

For Tarzan, visual art brings forth what they struggle to put into words, sometimes there are no words or blurbs that can sum up the explosion of confusion that comes from within, the juices that need to leak out.

Working largely with collage, Tarzan creates new forms of identity, social structures, and alternative ways of being in the world. They create poetry collage from conflicting texts and mash together solid colour with photographic images to forge familiar scenes and strange scenarios, vulnerability and dominance, painted solid shapes and photographs of bodily fluid, funny stories and harsh realities.

These creations have become a voice – they are the gut-wrenching soundtrack to Tarzan’s uterus, to feminism, to the patriarchy, to the lost and suppressed moments gone by. Do I seduce you? becomes the language to an unexplainable body.

Do I Seduce You?

Thumbnail and header: Tarzan JungleQueen, 'They are all Queer', 2020, digital image

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