Thursday, December 2, 2010


Stephen Nelson's Diaspora: Multiple Practices, Multiple Worldviews"
  • Septuagint: first use of the term, "diaspora", as means to describe exiled Jews from Palestine/Babylon; "dislocation from a place of origin and relocation in a new setting"
  • comprised by immigrants, migrants, refugees, exiles and travellers
  • W. E. B. Du Bois: double consciousness (1903)
  • James Clifford: diaspora deals not only with the migration of individuals, but their transnational experience (of living in two different cultures)
  • Nelson wishes to explore diaspora in conjunction with contemporary art practices and "diasporic art has challenged homogeneous fictions of nation, nationality, and citizenship"
  • diasporic artists exist "outside" in the margins of society; artists are always seen as "diasporic artist" and always regarded in terms of ethnicity and race
  • postwar-Britain: descendants of immigrants from Britain's former colonies began to challenge the presumption that identity is natural; instead identity is always in flux and considered as "discursive constructions", in which race, gender, sexuality and class all play a part
  • Third Text, journal publication first appearing in 1987
  • "Writers on the work of African American artists have rightly explored the ways in which ideas of diaspora have informed the artist' visual choices, motivated by the desire to convey notions of "home" and the possibility of recuperating a lost "African" past."  In this way, it can be argued that African American artists romanticize Africa as a means to come to terms with the racism and oppression they experience as diasporic artists living in the West.
 Chris Ofili, Holy Virgin Mary, 1996


Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life
The merging of modern aesthetics with traditional Jewish rituals and life fits within the discourse of diaspora; artists are exploring Judaism using modern modes of representation.  In this exhibition, artists aim to refashion traditional Jewish objects by fusing it with modern materials and aesthetics.

Ross Barney Architects, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation. Evanston, Ill.

New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table

 Amy Klein Reichert, Seder Plate, 2008

(See also: Walid Raad.)

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