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'Arke-Typical' : Dialogues in Art, Anthropology and the Writing of Self in the Work of Pia Arke


'Arke-Typical' : Dialogues in Art, Anthropology and the Writing of Self in the Work of Pia Arke

von Harringa, Charissa (2016) 'Arke-Typical' : Dialogues in Art, Anthropology and the Writing of Self in the Work of Pia Arke. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This research project approaches the topic of autoethnography in art through an analysis of the artistic practice of the late Greenlandic-Inuit and Danish artist and photographer, Pia Arke (1958-2007). Arke’s artistic-research practice is a personal and critical relationship to Greenland’s colonial history, Danish imperialism and Arctic Indigenous representation. Her critiques are foregrounded in biographical expressions and critical reflections that reframe colonial histories and narratives, bringing them into visible and tangible contact with Greenlandic Inuit oral and material histories. Pia Arke’s writing and performances challenge dominant discourses of the ‘ethnographic turn’ by art scholars concerned with issues such as, appropriation in art, ‘relational aesthetics’, social collaboration and site-specificity; themes that, although relevant, tend to obscure important decolonizing methods and postcolonial insights in the art historical literature. Pia Arke’s autoethnographic framings foreground notions of identity, ethnicity, hybridity, and self-representation as crucial postcolonial sites in formation. Arke’s artistic devices, mediums and narrative contents draw on the history of ethnographic histories as she explores critical colonial and postcolonial themes. This critical stance is an integral part of the project in which she seeks to interrogate and thus requalify the “ethnographic gaze,” imbuing it with new meaning. Arke’s performative gestures produced new visual configurations and representations that can be read and understood as plurally embodied autoethnographic articulations in reclaiming (self) identity. Her mixed “mongrel” autoethnographic orientations, especially as clarified in her practice, are largely informed by the multivalency of ethnoaesthetics, as a web of meanings and contestations deriving from ethnographic practices, issues of race and identity, postcoloniality, and the politics of indigeneity. Her theoretical outlook is thus meaningfully extended into different intellectual fields, especially as they are closely linked with praxis—this linkage is indispensable in constructing and narrating an essential autoethnographic project.

Keywords: Greenland, Arctic colonialism, decolonization, postcoloniality, critical theory, methodologies, ethnicity, identity, autoethnography, artistic-research, ethnographic turn, ethnoaesthetics

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:von Harringa, Charissa
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:14 August 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Stowell, Steven
ID Code:981804
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 20:00
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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