Post Colonialism 508


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  • P erhaps because it attempts to understand the similarities among formerly colonized populations all over the world.
  • Diego Rivera, Mural, Monumental Stairway in National Palace, Mexico City, D.F Perhaps more than any other political event in Latin America, the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) acted as a catalyst for an explosion of artistic and cultural manifestations in the continent, to the extent that it may be argued that modern Latin American art finds its true voice at that point in time . t he time between the two world wars was a period when many artists were looking to indigenous traditions and subject matter for inspiration. A number of like-minded artists in Mexico turned to their own history and artistic heritage, namely Mexico's pre-Columbian cultures and indigenous peoples, contributing to a renaissance of Mexican painting. The 1930s were the height of the muralist effort in Mexico, a movement which marked the high point of Mexican influence throughout Latin America and the United States .
  • Even though Mexican muralism is considered an artistic movement, it can also be considered a social and political movement. This style was thought of as a teaching method and it was expressed in public places where all people could have access to it regardless of race and social class. Muralists worked over a concrete surface or on the façade of a building. The themes involved events from the political climate of the time and as a reaction to the Mexican Revolution . Beginning in the 1920s and continuing to mid century, artists were commissioned by the local government to cover the walls of official institutions such as Mexico’s schools, ministerial buildings, churches and museums. Murals from this movement can be found on the majority of the public buildings in Mexico City and throughout other cities in Mexico, such as Guadalajara , that played important roles in Mexico’s history.
  • Mexican painter Frida Kahlo may be the best-known female Latin American artist in the United States. She painted self-portraits and depictions of traditional Mexican culture in a style combining Realism , Symbolism and Surrealism . Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings and the second-highest for any female artist. [3] Kahlo was influenced by indigenous Mexican culture,using bright colors and dramatic symbolism I would like to suggest that I feel that this is the beginning point for post colonial work since tey are reacting to colonization and searching for answers in their indigenous roots.
  • Kahlo's work was not widely recognized until decades after her death. Often she was popularly remembered only as Diego Rivera 's wife. It was not until the early 1980s, when the artistic movement in Mexico known as Neomexicanismo began, that she became very prominent. [11] I would like to suggest that this era was one of the begginngs of post colonial art and that the mexican artist of this time were interested in this area.
  • British-Nigerian textile artist Yinka Shonibare is internationally recognized for his recreation of historical figures dressed in African print costumes. “I am very interested in using the idea of something which is visually very beautiful because I think that I want my audience to engage with my work even though I am actually tackling quite serious issues…” Yinka Shonibare Shonibare often brings an exaggerated, tongue-in-cheek sensibility to his installations even when the topics he addresses are serious. His use of Victorian themes, African inspired fabrics originally made for Indonesia by way of the Netherlands, and his use of highly stylized images in scenes, all showcase Shonibare’s determination to juxtapose the obvious with the ambiguous.
  • Born in London and raised in Nigeria, contemporary, multi-talented installation artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE , likes to refer to himself as a bi-cultural, post colonial hybrid. As an artist who is acutely aware of the two distinct cultures he inhabits; one Western, the other African, it is not surprising that Shonibare’s creative endeavors, whether sculpture, painting, photography, film or installation art, straddle both worlds. Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry
  • As a young art student in the mid 1980s in London, Shonibare recalls how an art teacher challenged him to seek an authentic African voice in his artistic work. This comment led him to the Brixton markets where he bought batik fabrics (Ankara, kente fabrics) favored by women and men in West Africa. Shonibare understood the popularity of these fabrics in his native Nigeria; especially for women’s social groups. Members of these groups often spent enormous amounts of money procuring unique designs that would become cultural identifiers of wealth, social club exclusivity or priviledged social connections.
  • Shonibare’s motivation might have been to portray how African women and men use these beautiful fabrics to highlight their special, idealized cultural connections. However, his research found something more; a remarkable historical paradox. The paradox was that the fabrics were originally manufactured in Holland for the Indonesian batik market. When the Indonesian traders rejected the designs as unsuitable for their market, the fabrics were sold to African traders who transformed this unexpected reject into a cultural windfall that remains a staple of every African woman’s wardrobe.
  • Because many people presume the fabric origins are inherently African, Shonibare uses his artwork to force us to consider how the themes of artifice and authenticity can be presented and lampooned. How does he accomplish his objective? He dresses his Victorian mannequins in appropriately styled period clothing made from these “authentic African” fabrics. He then presents some of his mannequins in inappropriate, lascivious postures.
  • Shonibare explores issues of race and class through a range of media that includes sculpture, painting, photography, and installation art. "Swan Lake. It's my version. The film is called Odile and Odette. Odile being the bad character and Odette being the good swan. So what I've done... I've made two characters, one black, one white. And they dance opposite each another with a hollow frame in between them, so you get the illusion that one is a reflection of the other.
  • According to Shonibare, another source of inspiration for his Victorian era installation pieces came from Margaret Thatcher’s call for Victorian values in the decadent 1980s. This was also the era when Thatcher re-evaluated British immigration policy and sent many British residents from the former colonies packing. His depiction of characters from the colonial era, dressed in African patterned Dutch made fabrics, was not accidental; any student of colonial African history knows that the scramble for Africa created chaotic geographic boundaries. The new nations that emerged were a mishmash of former opponents led by warlords eager to maintain the interests of their specific ethnic group. Today, leaders on the continent continue to seek ways to stem the resultant warfare; a legacy of those ancient affiliations
  • The Scramble for Africa left behind a complex hodgepodge of competing cultures created by European colonialists in the form of Anglophone/Francophone/Lusophone nations on the continent. The terms actually identify English/French/Portuguese speaking African nations; each nation representing a miniature cultural version of the former ruling entity. Ironically, in the similarly named installation by Shonibare, “The Scramble for Africa,” he depicts a scene where African leaders sit around dinner table considering ways to divide and pillage the continent’s resources; thereby perpetuating the atrocities of its past history.
  • Scramble for Africa , 2003, 14 figures, 14 chairs and table " a recreation of the Berlin conference in the 19th century...It was when Africa was being divided up. It was in Europe. They had this conference in Berlin. And the conference was called Scramble for Africa. So on the table there's a map of Africa drawn. So it's merely capturing a moment when all these brainless people got around the table -- headless, brainless -- to actually divide up the spoils amongst themselves. See if they have original entitlements to it."
  • While Shonibare’s work addresses issues of culture, race, identity politics and reconstructed history, his art is still quite entertaining, playful and colorful. Even his acceptance of an MBE (Member of the British Empire) from the Queen, and his subsequent use of that honorific title in his recent exhibitions, hints at the humor he finds in what could potentially be deemed ironic. Here is an outsider, particularly one who lampoons the severe dictates and high brow hypocrisies of the old establishment, being honoured instead of vilified by the descendants of the establishment.
  • This sculpture presents an incongruous situation--a man who is headless trying to drink from a water fountain. The absurdity of this scenario is reinforced by the patterning of the man's costume, which features the doubled motif of an abundantly flowing tap and water glass. His elegantly tailored late Victorian costume suggests he is someone of note--a well-to-do gentleman of colorful taste. Jaunty red trousers and green bows on his patent leather shoes lend a silly h note to the figure and extend Shonibare's longstanding interest in the notion of the "dandy." Shonibare typically presents his sculptural figures minus their heads. In doing so, he makes playful reference to the French Revolution and the beheading of members of the ruling elite. The absence of heads also removes references to individual or racial identity in his figures. The man's inability to drink from the tap is particularly ironic in the present era. Water shortages, drought and climatic shifts have affected various parts of the world; and leading environmentalist David Suzuki, for one, proposes that the world's future wars will be fought over water, not land. This work is Shonibare's only "animated" sculpture to date, featuring a water pump and running water.
  • Shonibare shared in an interview “In the end, I felt that, given what my work is about; to have actually been acknowledged and honored by the establishment was quite interesting … I think it’s better to make an impact from within rather than from without. In a way I feel flattered, because I never really thought the establishment took any notice of what artists did.”
  • I n order to address the widespread practice of human displays, Fusco and Gomez-Peña enclosed their own bodies in a ten-by -twelve-foot cage and presented themselves as two previously unknown "specimens representative of the Guatinaui people" in the performance piece "Undiscovered Amerindians." Inside the cage Fusco and Peña outfitted themselves in outrageous costumes and preoccupied themselves with performing equally outlandish "native" tasks. Gomez-Peña was dressed in an Aztec style breastplate, complete with a leopard skin face wrestler's mask. Fusco, in some of her performances, donned a grass skirt, leopard skin bra, baseball cap, and sneakers. She also braided her hair, a readily identifiable sign of "native authenticity." In a similar fashion to the live human spectacles of the past, Fusco and Gomez-Peña performed the role of cultural "other" for their museum audiences. While on display the artists' "traditional" daily rituals ranged from sewing voodoo dolls, to lifting weights to watching television to working on laptop computers. During feeding time museum guards passed bananas to the artists and when the couple needed to use the bathroom they were escorted from their cage on leashes. For a small donation, Fusco could be persuaded to dance (to rap music) or both performers would pose for Polaroids. Signs assured the visitors that the Guatinauis "were a jovial and playful race, with a genuine affection for the debris of Western industrialized popular culture . . . Both of the Guatinauis are quite affectionate in the cage, seemingly uninhibited in their physical and sexual habits despite the presence of an audience." Two museum guards from local institutions stood by the cage and supplied the inquisitive visitor with additional (equally fictitious) information about the couple. .
  • Despite Fusco and Gomez-Peña's professed intentions that Undiscovered Amerindians should be perceived as a satirical commentary, more than half of the visitors to the museums who came upon the performance believed that the fictitious Guatinaui identities were real. In 1992, Fusco and Gomez-Peña first staged the performance on Columbus Plaza, Madrid, Spain, as a part of the event Edge '92 Biennial, organized in commemoration of the quincentennial of Columbus' voyage to the New World. The performance piece had an illustrious two year exhibition history including performances at Covent Garden in London, The National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., The Field Museum in Chicago, the Whitney Museum's Biennial in New York, the Australian Museum of Natural History and finally in Argentina, on the invitation of the Fundacion Banco Patricios in Buenos Aires. Quote about Undiscovered Amerindians from Coco Fusco: According to Fusco, she and Gomez-Peña aimed to conduct a "reverse ethnography . . . Our cage became a blank screen onto which audiences projected their fantasies of who and what we are. As we assumed the stereotypical role of the domesticated savage, many audience members felt entitled to assume the role of colonizer, only to find themselves uncomfortable with the implications of the game" (Fusco 47).
  • James Luna often uses his body as a means to critique the objectification of Native American cultures in Western museum and cultural displays. He dramatically calls attention to the exhibition of Native American peoples and Native American cultural objects in his Artifact Piece , 1985-87. For the performance piece Luna donned a loincloth and lay motionless on a bed of sand in a glass museum exhibition case. Luna remained on exhibit for several days, among the Kumeyaay exhibits at the Museum of Man in San Diego. Labels surrounding the artist's body identified his name and commented on the scars on his body, attributing them to "excessive drinking." Two other cases in the exhibition contained Luna's personal documents and ceremonial items from the reservation. Many museum visitors as they approached the "exhibit" were stunned to discover that the encased body was alive and even listening and watching the museum goers. In this way the voyeuristic gaze of the viewer was returned, redirecting the power relationship. Through the performance piece Luna also called attention to a tendency in Western museum displays to present Native American cultures as extinct cultural forms. Viewers who happened upon Luna's exhibition expecting a museum presentation of native American cultures as "dead," were shocked by the living, breathing, "undead" presence of the artist in the display. Luna in Artifact Piece places his body as the object of display in order to disrupt the modes of representation in museum exhibitions of native others and to claim subjectivity for the silenced voices eclipsed in these displays.
  • In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Grace Jones boldly interrogated both racial and sexual stereotypes associated with the black female body, through her work in performance. Interestingly, Jones, a Jamaican born artist, was actively working in the Parisian fashion world as a model at the time she moved into performance art. Jones' bold and often confrontational dress and performance style played with and disrupted primitive myths about black sexuality. In collaboration with artists like Jean-Paul Goude and Keith Haring, Jones transformed her body into medley characters, many of which satirized a primitive reading of the black female body. The multiple personas of Grace Jones ranged widely from overly sexualized dance performances in which she donned a gorilla or tiger suit to very masculinized self-representations. For these performances Jones would appear with a crew cut in a tailored men's suit. Both these modes of representation in Jones' work, as hyper-sexualized animal and instances of cross-dressing have been related to Josephine Baker's performances, more specifically, her "jungle" performances in banana and tusk skirts and the famous photographs of Baker in a top hat and tuxedo (Kershaw 21).
  • In 1985 Jones collaborated with Keith Haring in a performance staged at Paradise Garage, an alternative dance club in New York City. For the performance Haring painted Jones' body in characteristically Haring-stylized white designs. Interestingly, Haring's body art was inspired by the body paintings of the African Masai. Jones also adorned her body with an elaborate sculptural assemblage of pieces of rubber, plastic sheen, and metal, created by Haring and David Spada. A towering sculptural headdress topped off the costume. Her breasts were delineated with protruding metal coils. Through the painting, adornment, and importantly through her performance, Jones played with iconic signs of "the primitive," and transformed these signifiers and her body into a site of power.
  • Post Colonialism 508

    1. 1. "The final hour of colonialism has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia and Latin America rise to meet a new life and demand their unrestricted right to self-determination." — Che Guevara , speech to the United Nations , December 11 1964
    2. 2. Postcolonial Art Art produced in response to the aftermath of colonial rule, frequently addressing issues of national and cultural identity, race and ethnicity. Post Colonial Criticism: tends to be rather abstract and general in its analyses (according to the author)‏
    3. 4. Mexico City - Palacio Nacional. Mural by Diego Rivera showing the life in Aztec times
    4. 6. 1 st art object: as many works from this time period, they showed powerful influence of pre-Hispanic roots The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth [Mexico], Me, and Señor Xolotl [the dog] , 1949
    5. 7. Yinka Shonibare MBE Where Art meets Post-Colonial African Artifice Yinka Shonibare, the artist, in a portrait in Diary of a Victorian Dandy 14:00 Hours
    6. 8. The Pursuit
    7. 9. How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once ~ Female
    8. 10. Victorian Couple
    9. 11. Leisure Lady with Ocelots
    10. 12. Odile and Odette
    11. 13. Black Gold ~ A reference to the continent's Oil Resource s
    12. 14. The Scramble for Africa
    13. 16. Gallantry and Criminal Conversations
    14. 17. Headless Man Trying to Drink Art Object 2
    15. 19. The performance piece "Undiscovered Amerindians."
    16. 21. <ul><li>James Luna </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>James Luna is known for pushing boundaries in his installations, where he engages audiences by making himself part of a tableau </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 22. James Luna, Artifact Piece , 1985-87
    18. 23. Art Object number 3: a art object that might seem to fall outside of post colonialism
    19. 25. <ul><li>Does post colonial art really exist? </li></ul><ul><li>One thought is that it cannot exist as we are still living under colonial rule. </li></ul><ul><li>The other thinks it does exist as we are now living a life style that has been adapted and changed as a result of colonization (hence post-colonial). </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a bit like the Modernism & postmodernism debate. </li></ul>
    20. 27. <ul><li>The ultimate goal of post-colonialism is combating the residual effects of colonialism on cultures. It is not simply concerned with salvaging past worlds, but learning how the world can move beyond this period together, towards a place of mutual respect. </li></ul>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    21. 28. <ul><li>A key goal of post-colonial theorists is clearing space for multiple voices. This is especially true of those voices that have been previously silenced by dominant ideologies. </li></ul>
    22. 29. <ul><li>Ultimately, however, Post-colonialism is a hopeful discourse. The very &quot;post&quot; defines the discipline as one that looks forward to a world that has truly moved beyond all that colonialism entails. Asking what it means to be human together, post-colonialism aims at decolonizing the future. </li></ul>