The Chorus line from a cabaret show at the Piccadilly Hotel in London. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images). Circa 1925
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Gerald Machona: Vabvakure (People from Far Away) (Zimbabwe)
Artist Statement: “Central to this body of work is my use of various decommissioned currencies as an aesthetic material,” explains Machona, “in an attempt to link historic and contemporary trends of African diasporic migration on the continent. Most recently, the migration of Zimbabwean nationals into neighbouring SADC countries and abroad, following the country’s political and economic collapse. While South Africa hosts the largest population of these Zimbabwean nationals living in the diaspora, in May of 2008 they were amongst the foreign nationals persecuted by the xenophobic attacks. It was reported that people were targeted through a process of profiling that assumed authentic South Africans are lighter in complexion or fluent in an indigenous language; this resulted in 21 of the 62 casualties being local citizens. Such beliefs have complicated who is considered an ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ in South African society. Pitting ‘native’ against ‘alien’ and perpetuating an exclusive sense of belonging that is reminiscent of apartheid doctrine. There is a growing need in the post-colony to deconstruct these notions of individual and collective identity, since ‘nations’, ‘nationalisms’ and ‘citizenry’ are no longer defined solely through indigeneity or autochthony.”