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Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Commonplace" by Catherine Lord


Catherine Lord's piece Commonplace (2008) from her series, The Effect of Tropical Light on White Men was used as part of Art for Obama, an online art auction supporting President Barack Obama.  Lord was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica, a Caribbean nation, and lived in Barbados before moving to the United States at age 13.  The history of colonization on the island of Dominica, which became an independent nation in 1978, is interesting in light of Lord’s recent project.  The Effect of Tropical Light on White Men is considered a memoir and a museum, examining issues of race and colonialism through an unconventional style of images and texts.


I found this piece particularly fascinating within a feminist critique of colonialism.  Lord’s unconventional approach and mixed media, further queers the critique.  Lord skillfully uses many parts in creating a single piece. Although it is not possible to read the text in this photograph of Commonplace, reviews of the work reveal that the text and images are, in part, produced by white European colonizers, which Lord has appropriated for use in her series.  Commonplace, with its many parts, works cohesively in creating an alternative history of colonialism. 

1 comment:

  1. I really like the idea of this kind of "reverse colonialism" - in a way Lord is appropriating in the opposite direction of history, so to speak. Of course, like "reverse racism", we know that it doesn't exist in the same sense that actual colonialism and racism do In this sense, I feel that Lord's work takes on an additional dimension of meaning: her techniques of construction juxtaposed with the white colonial artifacts reveals the asymmetrical levels of power between of socially charged art and that which such art is fighting against.

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