Myra Greene | sketches for something

Myra Greene’s response to traditional African textiles is very thought-provoking to me.

“Growing up in Harlem, I often walked past stores selling African textiles.  I was …subconsciously informed that as a black woman I should have an inherent relationship to these materials. I am attracted to the fabric as material and color, but felt there was a false cultural connection…While seductive, this fabric triggers a problematic relationship for me, for I have no direct link to its symbolism. I am told I should relate to the descriptions, symbols, colors and patterns, but it is a culture that I am distinctly removed from.”

Image result for myra greene sketches for something

Image result for myra greene sketches for something

Reading this made me think back to nearer the beginning of this project, when I researched Vietnamese symbolism. It felt like a necessary step in my secondary research to inform myself of ways to represent my Vietnamese side. However, it felt strange at the time that I should have to find out the traditional symbols of Vietnam, as I am half Vietnamese so should surely already be aware of them? In the same way that traditional African fabric triggers a slightly uncomfortable reaction for Myra Greene, the need to find out about Vietnamese symbolism was a reminder of the fact that I am ‘distinctly removed’ from Vietnamese culture. The further I come on this project the more self-aware I feel about my personal issues with having dual heritage. I’m now at the stage where I need to decide how best to communicate this to the audience in the exhibition.


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