Living in different places influenced my love for culture, people and the arts.

It can be difficult to explain why we like what we like or why we enjoy doing a particular activity. For Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) student Annette Liu, however, the influences are pretty clear.
Throughout her upbringing, she and her family criss-crossed the globe with each of her diplomat father’s postings. She lived in Finland, Austria, Hawaii, Nigeria – and her birthplace of Taiwan in between. 
“Living in all those different places influenced my love for culture, people and the arts,” Annette says.
“I love travelling and learning about other cultures. I think that’s where sociology and anthropology comes in.”
Annette picked up Finnish during that stint of her adolescence, and learned Swedish too, as it’s the second official language of Finland.
“Being in Europe, you had to do a third language, so I did French,” she says.
If that weren’t enough, she was also in the German club.
“I love languages,” Annette adds, laughing.
Canberra has been home the past six years, and where Annette intends to stay for her Honours in Photography this year, and her Masters in Art History and Curatorship after that. 
“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of say in where I would go to school, and we had to move whenever my dad got a new posting,” Annette says.
“I grew up in a state of flux. But photography was a medium that had that stability.”
Already experienced in both photography and curatorship, Annette curated and co-curated three exhibitions in 2017, and won the Belconnen Arts Centre’s International Tenants’ Day photography award.
“I'm a bit of a control freak, and I think that works with curation,” she muses. 
“I'm very precise and meticulous in the presentation and sequencing of things. Photography also gives you that level of control, even in the darkroom – it’s an analogue process so you can keep going back to it.”
What Annette likes to photograph is hard to describe. It doesn’t fit under a neat category like portraits or landscapes. Rather, her manner of photography is more conceptual. 
If you were to zoom out from her Instagram posts of her International Tenants’ Day winning entry, you’d see a man in a well-pressed suit sitting cross-legged, one leg pointed towards a woman in a floor-length dress. Annette presented three shots from the one image, cropping one to show the man from his shoulders down, and shins up, and the same for the woman. The third image shows where one of each of their legs intersect, a stuffed toy grinning from the floor between them.
“A teacher once told me the pairings my images create… relationships within the relationships,” she says hesitantly. 
“You can see from the pairing of my photos, between the first one and the next, the relationships between the two images but also the relationships within the images. 
“I'm sensitive to those kinds of details and I want to highlight those details and present them in a way that's accessible to everyone.”
Annette draws similar relationships between images in exhibitions she curates.
“I enjoy creating particular narratives with works of art and trying to bring those narratives to different viewers.
“I think curatorship is like directing or editing a movie,” she says.
“It influences the way you see and experience things, and that can completely change your ideas of the work.”
To see Annette’s photographs, find her on Instagram:
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Updated:  21 June 2021/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications