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  • Imagining, tracing, experiencing, inhabiting, projecting: locating Afro artists as culturally native to the Dutch art world

Landvreugd, Robert (Charl), 2019, Thesis, Imagining, tracing, experiencing, inhabiting, projecting: locating Afro artists as culturally native to the Dutch art world PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Dutch Afro-awareness today is coinciding with the development of minority subjectivities redefining
themselves against dominant culture. It is in line with this moment that this thesis works towards
deciphering how Dutch Afro artists carve out a space in today’s Dutch artistic landscape. The main
challenge for the artists is dealing with the dominance of an art narrative that is heavily informed by
American, British and World Art conceptions, which aligns their Afro-ness with foreignness and
(political) Blackness. This means that even though Dutch Afro-ness is constructed differently than in the
rest of the Diaspora, from the early 1980s to the late 2000s, the artist had to define their practices in
relation to art critique, cultural policies and curatorial strategies that were developed on the basis of the
aforementioned. Coming from this background, this thesis adds to a Diaspora understanding of how Afroness
can work differently in a particular (Dutch) context.
Through interviews, archive research, private conversations, and my personal experience as a Dutch Afro
artist I work through these historical developments and their outcome today. As a result, the thesis
questions the usefulness of the cultural notion of Black in the Dutch art world and in a broader context
proposes using local concepts and words to describe the particularities of this artistic condition. A
condition that harbours entitlement when it comes to being culturally native and reflection in the national
self-image of non-racial equivalence. Looking at exhibition histories, curatorial approaches and Dutch
Afro artistic agency, my approach is a conscious ‘spiral retelling’ that provokes Diaspora and Dutch
understandings of Afro subjectivity in the visual arts. The research argues around the paradox of
simultaneously becoming and refusing to be Black as it is understood in 20th century Diaspora.
Researched, this artistic condition complements contemporary investigations and theorization on what it
means to be European. This dissertation is a harbinger of research into the visual arts that challenges the
existing (internal) borders of the union in this age of migration.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 10:45
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2019 10:45
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3951

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