Between black and white: Rethinking Coloured identity

Between black and white: Rethinking Coloured identity

African Identities
Volume 1, Issue 2 (2003)
pages 253-280
DOI: 10.1080/1472584032000173139

Pal Ahluwalia, Pro Vice Chancellor of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
University of South Australia

Abebe Zegeye
Goldsmiths College, University of London

Identity who we are, where we come from, what we are is difficult to maintain … we are the ‘other’, an opposite, a flaw in the geometry of resettlement, an exodus. (Said 1986: 16 17)

The photographs

Stephen Greenblatt offers two models for the exhibition of works of art resonance and wonder. Resonance, he argues, equates with the ‘power of the displayed object to reach out beyond its formal boundaries to a larger world, to evoke in the viewer the complex, dynamic cultural forces from which it has emerged and for which it may be taken by a viewer to stand’ (Greenblatt 1991: 42). Clearly a work of art that evokes such resonance creates its own context albeit that it is far removed from its original site. In contrast, by wonder, he means, ‘the power of the displayed object to stop the viewer in his or her tracks, to convey an arresting sense of uniqueness, to evoke an exalted attention’ (ibid.).

Greenblatt argues that what has increasingly happened in the practice of mounting exhibitions is the triumph of resonance over wonder. For an exhibition to have maximum impact, he argues (ibid.: 54), it is important that there should be ‘a strong initial appeal to wonder, a wonder that then leads to the desire for resonance, for it is generally easier in our culture to pass from wonder to resonance than from resonance to wonder’. It is in this context that we urge readers to make acquaintance with Chris Ledochowski’s photographs. First and foremost, they are works of art that evoke wonder. These works of art, however, are deeply resonant with the racial quagmire that has dominated and continues to dominate¬†¬† South Africa’s culture, history and politics…

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