dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
[personal profile] dmp
A blatant plug for an interesting article about British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, whose work is currently on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Though it's not steampunk per say, he's doing what I'm aiming for in my steampunk expression--



Headless Bodies From a Bottomless Imagination

Excerpt from the article talking about Mr. Shonibare, years in art school and his tutor's suggestion that his work be more "African"--

[Mr. Shonibare]: “I should have actually understood all along that there is a way in which one is perceived, and there’s no getting away from it. And I realized that if I didn’t deal with it, I would just be described forever as a black artist who doesn’t make work about being black.”

Right then, Mr. Shonibare said, he found his artistic raison d’être. “I realized what I’d really have to deal with was the construction of stereotypes, and that’s what my work would be about.”

In search of authentic African-ness Mr. Shonibare visited an African fabric shop in the Brixton market in South London, discovering, to his amazement, that the best African fabric was actually manufactured in the Netherlands and exported to Africa. Further, the Dutch wax prints, as they are known, were originally inspired by Javanese batiks.

This idea, that a fabric connoting African identity was not really African, delighted the budding conceptual artist. “The material was the idea,” he said. From that point forward the African fabric was his medium and his message.

He used it first as his canvas — stretching the prints, then painting on them — and later to make his costumes, which are usually Victorian, the Victorian era being the period of British history when Africa was colonized, thus providing him not only with ruffles and bustles but also with what he called the “lovely irony” of contrasting fabric and style.

“My tutor wanted me to be pure African,” Mr. Shonibare said “I wanted to show I live in a world which is vast and take in other influences, in the way that any white artist has been able to do for centuries.”




(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-09 06:03 am (UTC)
jolantru: (steampunk)
From: [personal profile] jolantru
I like the textures. I want to run my fingers down the folds. Now, if I can fit on one of them... *lol*

Good post there.

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