De/acculturation of identity: diaspora in selected photo installations by Searle and Farber

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Abstract:

This article investigates the de/acculturation of identity (as brought forth specifically by diaspora) as visually represented by contemporary South African artists Berni Searle and Leora Farber. Specific focus is placed on the photographic installations Looking Back (1999) by Searle and Aleorosa: Induction (2004-2007) by Farber. The postcolonial spatial construct diaspora involves an experience of displacement, relocation and a scattering of identity. Diaspora is mainly brought forth by the willing and unwilling [forced] migration of people across physical and psychological borders. Accordingly the repositioning of identity during diaspora is associated with de/acculturation. We argue accordingly that both Searle as a brown woman and Farber as a white woman from Jewish descent distinctively reclaim their collective and autobiographical identity narratives in the selected artworks as solo-protagonists. The methodological approach for this article consists of a theoretical investigation of the postcolonial spatial identity complexities diaspora, hybridity and liminality. This is followed by a reading and interpretation of Searle’s installation Looking Back and Farber’s Aleorosa: Induction as a visual manifestation of the de/acculturation process that is associated with the diaspora.