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Negotiating the British landscape

Garfield, R. (2015) Negotiating the British landscape. In: Dadi, I. (ed.) Anwar Jalal Shemza. Riding House, London, pp. 19-26. ISBN 9781909932135

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Abstract/Summary

According to many accounts, a key paradigm for understanding art in Post WWII Britain is one of Englishness versus internationalism or abstraction versus realism . These terms have a rich inflection of meanings that have been subject to interrogation over the last few decades. Anwar Shemza came to Britain and practiced his art at a time when these competing claims were at their height. In a postcolonial reading entitled “Black Diaspora Artists in Britain: Three ‘Moments’ in Post-War Britain” Stuart Hall recently used David Scott’s framework of a ‘problem space’, that is discursively defined through questions, tensions and conjunctures, that couched the entry of what he describes as first waive British commonwealth artists into critical visibility in Britain. This can be characterized in part by the reviews of WG Archer and GM Butcher, both supporters of Shemza and prominent critics of the period. Hall includes Shemza in this framework that defines the work and his aspirations as constituted through the tensions of what was perceived to be anti-colonialist aims of modernism through universalism and the ‘nativist’ current in anti-colonial nationalism . This text will focus particularly on the problematic of Landscape as a ‘problem space’ of vernacular and modernism, over here and over there. The aim is not to define Shemza within the tradition of English landscape nor to exclude him but to position him within a discursive field of landscape and modernism in mid twentieth Century art.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Fine Art
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Art History
ID Code:44375
Uncontrolled Keywords:Painting, post colonial, Landscape, Modernism
Publisher:Riding House

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