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'In search of the thing itself' - Africans in the art of two Ukranian / American Jewish artists: Maya Deren (1917 - 1961) and Clarice Lispector (1920 - 1977)

Berger, Karen (2010) 'In search of the thing itself' - Africans in the art of two Ukranian / American Jewish artists: Maya Deren (1917 - 1961) and Clarice Lispector (1920 - 1977). In: Engaging Africa / Engaging Africans: Knowledge, Representation, Politics, 2-4 December, 2010, Melbourne. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The influential Martinique philosopher, Frantz Fanon, wrote in 1967 that he ‘joined the Jew, [his] brother in misery’ because ‘an anti-semite is inevitably an anti-Negro’. Histories of racial oppression link Africans and Jews. When Deren received the first Guggenheim fellowship for motion pictures, she travelled from the U.S. to Haiti where she was welcomed as ‘a prodigal native daughter finally returned.’ Acclaimed Brazilian author, Lispector, was painfully aware of the situation of many people of African origin in her adopted country. My two protagonists have white skin, relative affluence and social position, and so can bestow on Africans the position of the ‘other’. However acute awareness of their own lack of belonging – as Jews, women and artists, exiled from the country of their birth – meant that they also felt particular affinities to anyone else who could be identified as ‘other’. I will explore the way they used the paradoxical push/pull of ‘other’ and ‘same’ towards Africans in their work; to explore their own identities, reveal insights about our relationships to each other and the world, and to search for the truth – ‘the thing itself’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:

33rd AFSAAP conference (The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific), held at Victoria University

Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID21125, identity, representations of Africans in art, Maya Deren, Clarice Lispector, Jewish artists, American artists, America, United States, Ukraine
Subjects: Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
FOR Classification > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts
SEO Classification > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding
Related URLs:
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 04:32
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2013 04:32
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/9901
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