Sharlene Khan F'17
African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships 2017
School of Fine Art
Masquerading as a South African postcolonial visual arts strategy post-1994
My research engages the notion of ‘postcolonial masquerading’ in the South African visual arts as a creative strategy where the donning of costumes and enactment of characters can be used to contest social categorisations and boundaries. I aim to understand why so many artists are drawn to this visual strategy and the potentials for critique (‘play’/critical pleasure) that it offers them by looking at South African women-of-colour visual artists employing masquerading practices. I also note problems that are manifesting in postcolonial masquerading particularly with the re-emergence of the blackface stereotype in South African visual arts and popular culture.