Poppy Paraw is a photographer and casting model based in Melbourne/Wurundjuri Woi-wurrung country. She has been dabbling in digital and film photography for over a decade, recently shifting to art photography, as a means of personal expression. Poppy works as a communications professional in First Nations reconciliation. She is looking to diversify her academic and career goals toward public policy, law reform and human rights. While she prioritises her critical and technical side, her creativity strongly drives her in all of her endeavours. Poppy is passionate about art that centres around women, minority experiences and personal identity. She thrives in capturing faces, striking moments and landscapes she encounters—all as a means of visual storytelling.
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Falling Leaves Return to their Roots
Poppy’s photographic series is one that calls to a personal part of her identity, family history and preservation of culture. Inspired by the proverb: ‘falling leaves return to their roots’ - when a person residing elsewhere, one thinks of going back home, to return to one’s hometown or family.
In 2020, she travelled to her parents' villages in rural Myanmar and met some of her family for the first time. Through her work she hopes to showcase the bond felt with her loved ones, the kindness of the people and the transformative connection felt. She saw the beauty in the simplicity of their daily lives and captured moments that connected her to the culture she was mainly detached from.
Prior to this, most of what she knew about her cultural heritage were fragments. Stories and memory passed down from family members. Her culture is one that has been persecuted for centuries, lacking preservation.
Following the trip, the pandemic hit, and a year later there was a military coup, meaning the country is landlocked. This was likely the only opportunity to visit her family, and the last time to meet her grandparents before they passed.
This photographic series is her attempt to document a memory and her family story permanently. One that is not in official records and literature, to be etched in history for future generations. Life has come full circle, falling leaves settle on their roots - everything reverts to its original sources.
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