Portraits of Appropriation

Portraits of Appropriation addresses the implications of cultural appropriation in relationship to the effect of colonialism on individualized culture. I explore issue of a reverse appropriation within the context of contemporary society. I begin to express these concepts through material application and within the process itself. I assign traits of a non specific indigenous culture to portraits of individuals from the 1920s to mimic the process of taking a valuable aspect of a subservient culture and re-appropriating it within a dominate culture without consideration of its origin or meaning. The images are created from contact prints that were made using found glass plate negatives. In order to make the prints appear to more authentic to the time period by creating the attributes of the individualizes culture through the process of hand drawing them on acetate and then laying them on top of the negative to show how things potentially could have appeared if reverse appropriation had occurred much earlier in history. In order to address the concept in the context of contemporary society, I incorporate the use of technology to create distorted renderings from the original photographic prints. The distorted images speak of the way aspects of the individualized culture are lost between the distance of time from actual existence, subversion, and re appropriation. I create the distorted images from taking a photograph of the photographic print using a cell phone camera and then I print them on un treated acetate sheets using an inkjet printer. While the ink is still wet I spray them with fixative to make the images look like they are disintegrating. Through each step taken to reach the distorted more abstracted representation of the images subsequently lose clarity. This mimics the way these things are inevitably lost in translation over long periods of time.