Emma-Lucy O’Brien : Recreating The Pastoral

Recreating The Pastoral draws the viewer through a series of installations which juxtapose elements of elaborate 18th and 19th Century European dress and courtly behaviour with contemporary political sensitivities expressed through Shonibare’s use of Dutch wax cotton cloth, itself a culturally ambiguous material replete with a colonial history of appropriation.The installations question Euro-centric histories, and are a powerful expression of the complexities inherent in contemporary discourse on post-colonialism and identity. Shonibare’s Jardin d’Amour mimics the frivolity and excess of 18th Century Europe. The theatrical staging of works, framed within an elaborate artificial maze draw references to the colonial relationship to landscape, and the control and creation of spaces for pleasure by a powerful elite.

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