Monday, April 26, 2010
assignment hey, you guys dont need to read this. meerly for school purposes
one artist who applys post modern thought process and questions to a prominant social issue is gordon bennet. Bennet is of Anglo-Celtic and Aboriginal ancestry, only discovering his aboriginal ancestry at the relativly old age of 11. Bennet utilises this multicultural herritage and sense of alienation to adress issues pertaining to race, and the public perception of the aboriginal people by a socioty largely constituted of white people.
a prime example of Bennets ability to convey complex cultural issues through visual stimulai is his painting But i always wanted to be one of the good guys.
the work alludes to bennets attempts to reconcile both his black and whit eherritage both personally, and on a more grand social scale, self referencially portraying the artist as a young boy dressed in what is commonly percieved as a decidely white role; that of a cowboy. in direct opposition to this image are the reconisably contrasting images of the red skinned native americans, more colloquially known as indians. commonly percieved as being feudal forces, bennet makes the distiction between white and right, black and bad through these childhood images, placing the cowboys within a role of assumative superiority to that of the indians. As cultural paralleles can be drawn bewteen the collonisation of america and australia, the inclusion of indians as apposed to aboriginals remains relevant as both races experienced years of misfortune and masacre at the hands of their respective white settlers.
In addition, the portrayal of bennets cultural crisis as that of cowboys and indians, acts to deconstructe the larger more complex issue of this cultural feud to something more understandable and paletable to the paintings focal point, a child. By translating this issue to the more recognisably juvenile and simplistic cowboys and indians, bennet in turn translates what it must have felt like for him as a child of 11 to be confronted with a wholy foreign and percievably negative cultural identity. bennet has captured this child like perspective through the raw and basic figures of both the white cowboys and red indians, the way in which they are painted seeming both primal and childlike. Also the title effortlessly conveys the childlike sense of 'good' and 'bad', and how the distinction between the two is clear and concise as a child, as influenced by parental figures. it is the inclusion of this childhood perspective that makes this painting both poinant and compelling.