Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

Hybrid Sources: Depictions of Dress in Postcolonial Fibre Art

The Space Between Conference, Perth, Australia (April 2004)


In today’s atmosphere of globalisation – through positive agents such as communication networks as well as negative ones such as the refugee crisis – the national and cultural identities projected by dress embrace increasingly complex influences. Postcolonial theory and its attention to material culture, hybrid identities, and the ensuing Diaspora has influenced the work of contemporary artists worldwide. Contemporary artists working with textiles use the garment shape, as a motif and sculptural form rather than a functional piece of clothing, to express the complex results of colonisation. Common to all the works discussed here is an attempt to negotiate conflicts between language, culture and history that the postcolonial world must reconcile. Examples are drawn from work by Sue Blanchfield, Michael Parekowhai, Erica Spitzer Rasmussen, Elaine Reichek, Doris Salcedo, Yinka Shonibare and Susan Stockwell.

image: Susan Stockwell

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