Tracy Moffat was born in Brisbane, Australia. Her parents were Aboriginal, but she was adopted by a white couple. She received her bachelors in visual communications from the Queensland College of Art in 1982. After graduating from Queensland College, she moved to Sydney, Australia where she used her used her art work to portray issues as race, childhood trauma, and the media. Since her first solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney in 1989, Mofatt's work has been in museums all over the world. Mofatt makes symbolic photographs, films, and videos. She also puts herself in her pictures, for example in her photographic series called Something More (1989), she posed as an impoverished Asian women stereotypically dressed in a cheongsam, provocatively torn. A cheongsam is a traditional Chinese dress.
Mofatt first gained significant critical acclaim when her short film Night Cries was selected for official competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, beDevil, was also selected in 1993. The Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946 and is the worlds most prestigious and publicized film festival. It's held in Cannes, France and it previews new films of all genres which includes documentaries from all around the world.
The Laudanum is a nineteen piece of photogravures. The title refers to a pain reliever and sedative that was popular in the nineteenth century its made up of alcohol and morphine. The medium is an combination of photography and etching. The intended message behind these photogravures depicts the relationship between a white mistress and an Aboriginal servant, which has to do with their roles. The fact that Moffat's parents were Aboriginal and she was adopted by a white couple.
In this photogravure there is Aboriginal servant cleaning the floor. She is on her hand and knees and I believe that it was when she realized that her owner was coming down the stairs was when she put her head down like that. The position of her body also makes me think that she has been working like this for a long time. This photogravure represents the relationship between servants and their owners during the 19th century. The house seems to be empty so it seems that she didn't have a lot of people to clean up after but in order to keep her suppressed her owner makes her clean extensively.
The photogravure might also be a representation of how Mofatt saw her life growing up in a white household. She probably felt looked down upon by those who surrounded her and felt that her place in life was to serve others.
Mofatt uses photographs and etching. The focal point is the servant because her skirt is very white, that it stands out. The photogravure has movement because the Mofatt uses diagonal lines around the staircase. She also used vertical lines in the mistress' clothing.
This is another photogravure, its believed that is the same servant from the photogravure above, but in this one she seems to be fed up. The positioning of her head makes her look very enraged, she's not smiling, she looks very serious. The positioning of her hands adds some more drama to the photogravure, it seems like she just through something into the fire. Something that most likely caused her much pain throughout her life, because she's watching it burn. We can also see how big of a fire she started, because we can see the flames in the window, which is way over her head.
The focal point is the girls in the middle, also wearing her white garment. We can also see that there is actual light thats coming through from the window, and also the light from the fire.
This is another photogravure with the Aboriginal servant and her mistress. It seems as if the servant received a letter and found out some disappointed news. We see that she's not smiling or happy, her head is hung low. Meanwhile, her mistress is laughing hysterically, she almost seems drunk. Also the positioning of her hands seems like she's found it extremely funny.
There is implied light on the servant, on her neck and back, and also on her mistress' face, so those area's are the focal point. Mofatt also used shapes, in the picture frames, one is square and one is a circle. She also uses horizontal lines, by the floor and the table. She used vertical lines and pattern in the mistress' clothing. There is also an unknown light source, to the bottom left of the picture, I think it could be a fire.