ART SHOW: A portrait in the Milk Teeth Revisited Exhibition by William Debois.
ART SHOW: A portrait in the Milk Teeth Revisited Exhibition by William Debois.

Unique show by Gladstone artist captures life milestones

A GLADSTONE artist has launched a unique art show focusing on the teeth of children.

Milk Teeth Revisited is a project five years in the making by Gladstone artist William Debois.

The project started in July 2014 when Mr Debois’s eldest son Jackson, aged 7, started to lose his baby teeth.

“All human beings go through this very odd time of dropping teeth too small for their gums in favour of teeth too big for their face,” Mr Debois said.

“As a photographer, this is visually very interesting.”

Mr Debois got in touch with parents at Jackson’s school and created a series called “The Collective”.

Along with the very obvious physical transition associated with the loss of milk teeth, there is

usually a noticeable change in the children’s character around that milestone.

A little like a crab or a yabbi shedding their exoskeleton, it seems the children suddenly assert their identity and grow into a person that not only has the innocence of a young child, but also unsettling confidence that can easily turn into defiance.

Most interestingly, the children he photographed were never embarrassed about their smile full of gaps, or about their stumpy new teeth.

Some delighted in “grossing out” the adults by pulling, pushing or swaying their half detached teeth, and laughed at the horrified looks they triggered.

Five years on, Jackson is 13 and there are too many teeth for his face. He cares about his hair, mostly by not brushing it, and is far more aware of the power of photographs than the 7 years old version of himself.

Mr Debois realised it was probably time for him to revisit that little project and see how the children he photographed in 2014 may have changed.

This exhibition is the result of the second series of portraits with 11 out of the 16 children originally photographed.

“We will let you decide what may have changed,” Mr Debois said.

Milk Teeth Revisited

When: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm until October 9.

Where: Photopia Studio, Shed 5, 8 Crow St, Gladstone

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