Tall Poppy Syndrome
“Tall Poppy Syndrome” is a term used to describe a social phenomenon in Australia in which successful people (the “tall poppies”) get “cut down to size,” criticized, resented, or ridiculed because their talents or achievements distinguish them from their peers.
ClampArt is happy to announce the opening of “Amy Stein & Stacy Arezou Mehrfar: Tall Poppy Syndrome.” The exhibition is accompanied by the artists’ monograph of the same title from Decode Books (Hardcover, 96 pp., 9.8 x 7.9 inches, $60).
In 2010, American photographers Amy Stein and Stacy Arezou Mehrfar embarked on a month-long road trip throughout New South Wales—Australia’s most populous state. They were interested in investigating “Tall Poppy Syndrome.” Is the syndrome even real? Can it be documented or observed? Stein and Mehrfar set out to explore quintessential Australian life and find what evidence they could of the existence of this phenomenon. They spent their days meeting and photographing everyday Australians—from schoolchildren in their plaid uniforms to young surfers playing at the beach to grandmothers meeting at their social clubs—all the while learning about the relationship between the group and the individual within Australian society. The resulting photographs in “Tall Poppy Syndrome” present their findings.
Amy Stein’s work explores man’s evolving isolation from community, culture, and the environment. Her photographs have been the subject of numerous national and international exhibitions, and are represented in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; among many others. Her first monograph, Domesticated, was published by Photolucida in 2008.
Stacy Arezou Mehrfar is a first generation American artist and lecturer currently residing in Sydney, Australia. Predominately working on long-term projects that explore cultural identity, her images have been exhibited in the United States, Australia, Poland, and Germany. She has received distinctions from the Moran Arts Foundation, Photography.Book.Now, the Camera Club of New York, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, among others. Mehrfar’s images are held in several public and private collections worldwide.