Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours, Immigration Museum Exhibition, 2011-2021

Tin - Piccaninny Floor Polish

Image: Tin - Piccaninny Floor Polish

Source: Museum Victoria

Identity: yours, mine, ours explores who we are, who others think we are, and what it means to belong and not belong in Australia. The exhibition focuses on how cultural heritage, languages, beliefs, and family connections have, and do, influence our self-perceptions and our perceptions of others. This can lead to discovery, confusion, prejudice and understanding.

Engaging personal stories, intriguing objects, compelling images and interactive multimedia experiences invite visitors to find both expected and unexpected connections with others, as well as challenge the assumptions we make about each other every day.

The exhibition encourages visitors (both in the gallery and online) to share their stories, affirm their identities and celebrate diversity in our community.

This exhibition has offered an exciting opportunity to bring together and creatively interpret a diverse array of material culture that will often be unexpected in the context of the Immigration Museum. Popular culture, racist and anti-racist ephemera, religious and sporting items, Aboriginal historical and contemporary cultural material, and an eclectic mix of artworks are all combined and interpreted to challenge visitors beyond the more conventional narratives of migration. Over 130 objects have been drawn primarily from the Museum's History and Technology collections (including the Migration, Cultural Identity, and Numismatic collections). Community and institutional loans relating to particular personal stories are also included, including those exploring Aboriginal experiences.

An interactive display exploring the theme of First Impressions incorporates a small number of objects which have either symbolic resonance about diverse forms of visible identities or represent personal experiences of family connection and disconnection.

The theme of Belonging draws upon museum and community objects to explore a variety of personal and collective experiences which cross time and culture - both in inter-cultural and cross-cultural ways. This theme is object rich and eclectic and places artefacts together in unexpected ways. Moreover the focus on Creativity within this theme provides the opportunity to present a cornucopia of beautiful often thought-provoking artworks which all explore personal identity in ways unique to the experiences and chosen media of the artists. This case features objects from the Museum's Immigration and Artistic Practice collection while also bringing in new works on loan or purchased by unrepresented communities. Short videos provide further insights into personal and community stories and the related objects, with cultural and faith representation including: Albanian Muslim, Irish, Brazilian, Caribbean, Scottish, Indian Sikh, Wotjobaluk, Naga, Jewish, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Latvian, German, Chinese, Christian Fijian, Greek, Japanese, and Wathaurong.

The final theme of Difference uses objects in very different and often confronting ways. A small number of objects provide material representations of theories and politics of race over time within the context of a strong graphic presentation and text-based historical narrative. These items range from an early magic lantern slide to an anti-racism protest badge. Another section draws on a rich, colourful and very familiar array of objects, including toys, games, clothing, advertising material and product packaging, to explore how popular culture has affected the creation and perpetuation of stereotypes. Some of these items are clearly prejudicial, while other more subtle objects consider the complexities of intention and interpretation according to the different viewpoints of the producer, target and consumer across time.

This is a long-term exhibition and some objects will change over time as new stories are represented and conservation requirements mean that more fragile items are removed from display and exchanged for new ones.

Other Resources
Identity: yours, mine, ours website.

Objects featured in our long term exhibitions are changed over regularly both for preservation reasons and also to maintain a diverse representation of stories, communities and cultures. Both current and past Museum Victoria objects displayed in this exhibition are listed below.

Items per page: 10 50 (showing 1 - 10) 113 items

  • National Doll - Canadian, Inuit, circa 1964-1997 Object

    National Doll - Canadian, Inuit, circa 1964-1997

    National Doll produced to represent an Inuit person. Dolls are among the most universal toys found throughout the world and through history. Ornamental dolls can also be used to represe ...

    Images: 2
  • National Doll - Newari, Katmandu Valley, Nepal, circa 1964-1997 Object

    National Doll - Newari, Katmandu Valley, Nepal, circa 1964-1997

    National Doll produced to represent a Nepalese woman. Dolls are among the most universal toys found throughout the world and through history. Ornamental dolls can also be used to repres ...

    Images: 2
  • National Doll - German, circa 1960s Object

    National Doll - German, circa 1960s

    National doll produced to represent a German woman, it is one of 8 sent to Monica Gates by relatives in Germany for birthdays etc. Monica began receiving these dolls in 1959, they repre ...

    Images: 3
  • National Doll - Greek, circa 1978 Object

    National Doll - Greek, circa 1978

    National Doll produced to represent a Greek woman, it was given to Monica Gates, circa 1978. Women's folk costumes in Greece are comprised of several basic elements: shirt and skirt or ...

    Images: 1
  • National Doll - Nepalese, Hindu, circa 1976 Object

    National Doll - Nepalese, Hindu, circa 1976

    National Doll produced to represent Nepal, it was purchased by Monica Gates in 1976 as they were climbing to a Buddhist temple. Local children approached them and offered a number of do ...

    Images: 1
  • National Doll - Indo-Mauritian, circa 1976 Object

    National Doll - Indo-Mauritian, circa 1976

    National Doll produced to represent a Mauritian woman, it was given to Monica Gates by her mother in 1976. Mauritius was first settled by the Dutch in the 17th Century, then taken over ...

    Images: 1
  • National Doll - German, circa 1960s Object

    National Doll - German, circa 1960s

    National doll produced to represent a German woman, it is one of 8 sent to Monica Gates by relatives in Germany for birthdays etc. Monica began receiving these dolls in 1959, they repre ...

    Images: 1
  • National Doll - Greek, circa 1978 Object

    National Doll - Greek, circa 1978

    National Doll produced to represent a Greek woman, it was given to Monica Gates, circa 1978. Women's folk costumes in Greece are comprised of several basic elements: shirt and skirt or ...

    Images: 3
  • National Doll - Japanese, circa 1970s-1980s Object

    National Doll - Japanese, circa 1970s-1980s

    National doll produced to represent a Japanese woman, it was made by Nishi & Co in Japan, circa 1970s-1980s and was given to Monica Gates. The doll is dressed in a kimono which is a t-s ...

    Images: 1
  • National Doll - Turkish, circa 1978 Object

    National Doll - Turkish, circa 1978

    National Doll produced to represent a Turkish man, it was purchased for Monica Gates by her mother in 1978. Turkey is a diverse blend of many different cultures, including the Oguz, Tur ...

    Images: 1
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