The Place of the Black Body in White History: Jeannette Ehlers's decolonial interrogation of 'the darker side of Western modernity'

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European countries have been criticised for perpetuating colonial ways of thinking and white supremacy. This article asks: can contemporary art help us ‘decolonialise’ and rethink national history and identity, and create a space for racialised bodies in Western (art) history? Jeannette Ehlers grapples with the history of Denmark’s involvement in colonialism and slavery, and their afterlife in the present. Until recently, this violent chapter of national history has received only scant attention in Danish public discourses. This article seeks to tease out how Ehlers renegotiates the self-perception and history of a country challenged to learn how to live with cultural diversity, by examining Ehlers’s performance Whip It Good (2013‒ ) and I Am Queen Mary (2017), a public sculpture commemorating the resistance to Danish colonial rule, co-created by Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle.
Original languageMultiple languages
JournalPerspective
Issue numberDecember
Pages (from-to)upagineret
ISSN2446-1792
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Postcolonialism, decolonial art, Danish colonialism, migration, postmigration, contemporary art, art in public spaces, monuments, racism, cultural diversity

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