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Distant Bodies

The works are a collage of fabrics from the former Dutch colonies mounted with photographs of naked black women. The images are derived from exotic postcards that were sent from the colonies to Europe in the 19th century. Postcards of the exotic other were extremely popular at the time.

The series refer to Edwards Saïd’s term the “postcolonial gaze”explaining the relationship that colonial powers extended to people of colonized countries. Placing the colonized in a position of the “other” helped to shape and establish the colonial’s identity as being the powerful conqueror, and acted as a constant reminder of this idea.

The postcolonial gaze “has the function of establishing the subject/object relationship.  It indicates at its point of emanation the location of the subject, and at its point of contact the location of the object”. In essence, this means that the colonizer/colonized relationship provided the basis for the colonizer’s understanding of themselves and their identity. Covering the naked bodies on the photo’s is meant to disturb the gaze of the viewer. Raising the question of who these women really were by taking away their nakedness, makes the viewer becoming the ‘other’.

Note: photoprint on fabric  various fabrics from Suriname handkerchiefs glitters

sizes 30cm x 40 cm

More info:

photography Tor Jonsson

Your history makes me so horny

These series depict the objectification and stereotyping of the black female body, while historically it is almost completely ignored. Within the colonial regime, there were only two types of discourses on the naked African body namely the anthropological and social suppressed which often was accompanied by systematic violence.
Photographs from a hardcore contemporary porn magazine are worked up with images from West European history books. Cutting holes in the bodies of black women and filling those holes with historical images from these books, is a way of reclaiming a space in history for black women.

Note: mixed media on various fabrics

sizes 40cm x 50 cm

More info:

photography Tor Jonsson

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