n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Second skins : cloth, difference and the art of transformation
|Article Title||Second skins : cloth, difference and the art of transformation|
|© Publisher:||University of Pretoria|
|Journal||Image & Text : a Journal for Design|
|Affiliations||1 University of East London, UK|
|Publication Date||Jan 2014|
|Pages||130 - 144|
|Keyword(s)||Borders, Cloth, Diaspora, Gender, Masquerade and Race|
In this article, I take the photographic portraits of Maud Sulter and Chan-Hyo Bae as my point of departure to explore (i) the place of cloth in the refashioning of cultural, racial and gendered identities, and (ii) the use of cloth as a vehicle with which to challenge structures of power that render certain peoples, their histories and their cultural expressions invisible.
Staged at the Ben Uri Gallery, London, 2013, the exhibition Looking In juxtaposed the work of Sulter and Bae. The show featured seven photographs from Sulter's Zabat series (1989), depicting African and African diasporic women artists as the Greek Muses. This was contrasted against nine self-portraits from Bae's Existing in Costume series (2006-2013), which emerged from his migration to Great Britain from Korea in 2004. There are clear parallels between these artists' use of cloth. Both embrace masquerade as a subversive strategy; masking becomes an art of transformation that questions normalised assumptions about difference.
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