Monday, August 23, 2010


When I was under-employed back a few months ago I had no money to make art.
Since my over employment in the past few months I have no time. I'm not complaining at all... I'm thankful for any oppurtunity to make money الحمد لله.
I'm just amused by the flip side of things and turns life makes.

I have been revisiting artists that I love in terms of the work they do.
They are all "post-colonial" artists. I hate that term because it implies that people were colonized a long time ago and they were given their freedom or independence and they should just get over it, since they are no longer colonized. This is a fallacy of course people continue to be colonized, by where they are forced to live in (reserves, ghettos) and in almost every area of their lives since colonization is a systemic thing that has been put in place for 500+ years and is pervasive in all areas of living.

These are artists that examine concepts that have to do with colonization, appropriation, self sexualization, documenting,exhibiting and representating the other, reclaiming and making strange and foreign familiar objects. A lot of my own work and inspiration comes from these artists.

Yinka Shinobare's Space Walk, Astronauts dressed up in African textiles.
it touches on Cultural Apropriation, Vacationing as Colonization and the notion of the exotic gettaway.

This is a conversation to a piece called the Scramble for Africa. Which is 14 Mannequins, 14 chairs and each of the mannequin dressed in textiles from the peoples that were colonized by the 14 European countries that had the Berlin Conference in 1884. In European Maps Africa south of the Nile and the Sahara was terra incognita, hell even in the days of the Ancient greeks everything south of Egypt they refered to as AEthiopia. The root word for this was Aethiops or Ethiops and this meant burnt thus Ethiopia meaning land of the burned people. However when The Portuguese called for the conference and the Germans hosted it, they were trying to avoid a war with one another over who would invade, occupy, rape, murder, enslave and rob, exploit, colonize and displace the continent;  thus maps were drawn up and nations-states were formed and Africa was no longer terra incognita but Subsharan Africa or "Africa"

 His work is like foreplay to my academic, mythologian and historian nerdness.
It's one of those instances where it's definately a mental hard-on.
 The first work I ever saw that was similar to this was Rebecca Belmore Rising to the Ocassion.
She made a victorian dress out of tea cups and a beaver dam and wore it when the Duke and Duchess of York were in town sometime in 1987. Her work makes me feel soo many things I'm amused, overwhelmed, shocked, heartbroken... and that is just scratching the surface... She is a true artist in that sense.

Speaking to your Mother,  Rebecca Belmore

When I first saw this peice it made me cry. I never understood being moved by someones art in that way but when I saw this I got it.
She made this large microphone that looked like a horn of plenty and travelled across Canada and had people speak, whisper, scream, etc into it.

Kent Monkman as Miss Cheif Eagle Testical, in a picture that looks like historical documentation of the other as exhibited of course.  His work is about the Colonial gaze and the colonial gaze reversed. He tackles apropriation and documentation or exhibition/representation by reclaiming his apropriated identity and in the process queering it. His Miss Cheif Eagle Testical
performance is him taking on Cher's "half-breed" identity as a queer Native man... and him performing it whether through photographs or live performance.

Kent Monkman, Heaven and Earth

Mona Hatoum's, The Mexican Cage
Big ups to her, she is one of my favourite artists. And her work deals with politics through domesticity.
She makes domestic items, strange, invaders, hostile, occupiers and  is very apparent about the immense pain and suffering that can be received from her art even though it is also very attractive. She lets her materials, process and concepts be informed by each other instead of alien and foreign.

Mona Hatoum, Welcome Mat , made out of steel nails of different sizes

There are of course many more artist that do this type of work and my list of artists I love is by no means a small list, but it feel right to end this session with Mona Hatoum.
oh and your Welcome.

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