The Colonial Myth
Hosting an exhibition of South African art within an institution such as the British Museum, given the country’s colonial history, would no doubt raise a few eyebrows, yet all of the colonial issues that come to the foreground are properly addressed. There are explanations for why the artists of certain works are unknown (for example the artists responsible for rock art panels and fertility figurines); for how these types of works were problematically collected (as ethnographic curiosities); as well as explanations around the problematic use of terms to describe different cultures (such as ‘San/Bushman’ and ‘Khoekhoe’). The exhibition constantly calls attention to these issues within the Western canon and how they influenced views of Southern African art and culture, pointing out bias behind the colonial myth of an ‘empty land.’ Each work of art is contextualised and analysed with a view to interrogate the context it was created in, as well as how it is viewed in the context of the present...Click to continue reading
Author: Siobhan Keam is a freelance art writer based in London.
Article first seen: https://artafricamagazine.org/