38 in. x 49 3/4 in. (96.52 cm x 126.37 cm)
Colonial Paradise is part of a series of drawings that combines photocopies of nineteenth-century ethnological photographs of the Kongo and Native Americans with Bedia’s own hand-rendered versions of the same image. While the photographs present typically ethnographic and stereotypical views of indigenous rituals, villages, and people, Bedia’s drawn interpretations of these photographs tell a very different story. Bedia’s aim is not to deny the information communicated in the photo, but to reveal additional layers of meaning in order to encourage a deeper understanding of the subject or event depicted. Here, Bedia’s re-rendering of an image of colonizers posing with “natives” looms large over its source image. Raw and forceful, the artist’s silhouetted figures suggest a shift in power. Transparent and unsettled as the agitated lines that emanate from his head suggest, the Western anthropologist stands in strong contrast to the bold and silhouetted African figures that, while still in the territorial clutch of their colonizer, appear serene and solidly rooted.
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
- The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives on the Addison Collection Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/4/2007 - 12/30/2007
- Inside, Outside, Upstairs, Downstairs: The Addison Anew Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/7/2010 - 3/27/2011
- Eye on the Collection Addison Gallery of American Art , 9/1/2016 - 3/19/2017
- Eye on the Collection Addison Gallery of American Art , 4/1/2017 - 7/30/2017
- Past Is Prologue: History in Contemporary Art Addison Gallery of American Art , 4/16/2022 - 7/31/2022
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