Professor of Human Geography, Maynooth University
The Postcolonial Body
Sunday March 29th
Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway
The body has been a site of anxiety for anticolonial nationalists and for postcolonial societies. In this paper I will examine the question of the postcolonial body in South African visual and performance art. There is a whole set of tensions around what is indigeneity and what is its relation with whiteness and with universal citizenship. I will look at artists who have tried to queer citizenship in the direction of dimensions of inclusivity that the liberation struggles barely acknowledged. I will also look at the difficult relaitonship between white artists and the new majority political culture in South Africa, particularly at the ways postcolonial critics from US academia intervened in South African art to question the right of white artists to engage with black identities and black bodies, finding there an inappropriate mimicry. I will also examine the response of white artists, particularly feminists, who rejected the segregation of historical legacy that these interventions implied.