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Subverting Colonial Portraiture: A Contemporary Memorial to the Women of Egypt Estate

Subverting Colonial Portraiture: A Contemporary Memorial to the Women of Egypt Estate small axe 26 • June 2008 • p 112–118 • ISSN 0799-0537 SX26 • June 2008 • Joscelyn Gardner | 113 Above: Nago Jenny [Detail from Creole Portraits II ] Following pages: Creole Portraits II: A Collection of Singular & Scarce Creole Portrait Heads to perpetuate the Memory of the WOMEN of EGYPT ESTATE in JAMAICA, wall installation with stone lithographs on frosted mylar and vinyl wall elements, 9' × 15' 116 | SX26 • Subverting Colonial Portraiture: A Contemporary Memorial to the Women of Egypt Estate Accubah [Detail from Creole Portraits II ] SX26 • June 2008 • Joscelyn Gardner | 117 Building on an earlier series of lithographs entitled Creole Portraits (2002–2003), in which the (imagined) subjects are similarly inverted, each portrait illustrates tools of torture used during slavery entwined within intricately braided hair. Iron collars, bridles, shackles, and a “man-trap” appear as horrific decorations within the elegant hairstyles.2 Simultaneously attractive and repugnant, these ambiguous portrait heads allude to the performance of identity that was central to eighteenth-century portraiture. Here the head becomes a field of inscription on which narratives of power (or emasculation) can be read. The symbolism of the wig, as visible index of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism Duke University Press

Subverting Colonial Portraiture: A Contemporary Memorial to the Women of Egypt Estate

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2008 by Small Axe, Inc.
ISSN
0799-0537
eISSN
1534-6714
DOI
10.1215/-12-2-112
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

small axe 26 • June 2008 • p 112–118 • ISSN 0799-0537 SX26 • June 2008 • Joscelyn Gardner | 113 Above: Nago Jenny [Detail from Creole Portraits II ] Following pages: Creole Portraits II: A Collection of Singular & Scarce Creole Portrait Heads to perpetuate the Memory of the WOMEN of EGYPT ESTATE in JAMAICA, wall installation with stone lithographs on frosted mylar and vinyl wall elements, 9' × 15' 116 | SX26 • Subverting Colonial Portraiture: A Contemporary Memorial to the Women of Egypt Estate Accubah [Detail from Creole Portraits II ] SX26 • June 2008 • Joscelyn Gardner | 117 Building on an earlier series of lithographs entitled Creole Portraits (2002–2003), in which the (imagined) subjects are similarly inverted, each portrait illustrates tools of torture used during slavery entwined within intricately braided hair. Iron collars, bridles, shackles, and a “man-trap” appear as horrific decorations within the elegant hairstyles.2 Simultaneously attractive and repugnant, these ambiguous portrait heads allude to the performance of identity that was central to eighteenth-century portraiture. Here the head becomes a field of inscription on which narratives of power (or emasculation) can be read. The symbolism of the wig, as visible index of

Journal

Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of CriticismDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2008

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