Artists' Visions of Identity
Artists’ creative freedom to envision and imagine identity plays a central role in the media objects presented here. In these books and photographs, artists reaffirm the identities of underrepresented peoples and nations while confronting colonial and postcolonial legacies. Many of these works reference and reuse familiar symbols and scenes of everyday life. Taken together, these elements not only challenge stereotypical representations of identity, but also create space for imagining new cultural and political affinities.
The two Cuban artists’ books on display speak to changes within the political structure of Cuba, and how this affects individuals’ perceptions of themselves in relation to their nation and their Cubanidad. Images such as Mujer Angel and Día de los muertos presents everyday pictures of indigenous peoples as they continue their practices, despite the myth of their lack of modernity. Chagoya’s Les Aventures des Cannibales Modernistes places images drawn from Mesoamerica, Europe, and the U.S. head to head to promote Mexican nationalism in the face of cultural imperialism. All of these represent the reality of negotiating one’s existence within higher structures, forming new identities in the process.
Objects included are: