In partnership with Saint Lucy Books, Light Work announces Rhode Island-based artist Odette England as the recipient of the 2021 Light Work Photobook Award for her monograph, Dairy Character. “Odette England’s Dairy Character is an insightful and distinct book that looks at rural life, parenthood, and femininity,” said Light Work acting director Dan Boardman. “Odette’s work exemplifies our mission to support emerging and under-represented artists. Her approach to the artist book is wholly her own and blurs the boundaries between archive, narrative, and memoir. We’re excited to collaborate with Saint Lucy’s on publication.
Dairy Character is a loose chronicle of England’s experience growing up on a rural dairy farm in southern Australia. Combining recent photographs, family snapshots, archival images, and autobiographical short stories, England examines the male-dominated farming community where she was raised and the gender-based repression that rural women and girls experience. Her images and texts evoke a girl introduced to reproductive labor at an early age. A girl who wanted a pink room. A girl fenced in by interconnecting forms of vulnerability. A girl who had a cow named after her.
Odette England is an artist and writer who uses photography, performance, writing, and the archive to explore themes of autobiography, land, gender, and ritual. She edited the critically acclaimed book, Keeper of the Hearth: Picturing Roland Barthes’ Unseen Photograph (Schilt, 2020). Public collections holding England’s work include the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, George Eastman Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design and Texas A&M University. In 2021, Radius Books published her collaboration with Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Past Paper // Present Marks: Responding to Rauschenberg.