The Gallery of Contemporary Art, UCCS presents Manifest: Colonial Tendencies of the West, an exhibition that explores the concept of colonialism from political, social, geographic, and commercial standpoints. The exhibition will be on view from September 14 through November 17, 2007.
Colonialism is a term used to describe the occupation of an area by a group of people who then impose rule or influence over the previous inhabitants. People may occupy ideas, commerce, and social settings in the same way that they may occupy land. Copyright law that allows people to lay claim to ideas, high school cliques that govern social boundaries, and commercial exports that dominate corners of the market are all forms of colonialism.
A clear example of the West’s colonial tendencies is found in the Manifest Destiny – a slogan and doctrine promoted in the 1800’s that stated America’s divine right to push West and absorb lands by force if necessary. This mentality, although not currently promoted, is still a driving force in the West’s relationship to the world. The West exports its people, politics, culture and products to occupy and influence the land, minds and markets of the world.
Colonization often results in hybrid cultures when competing customs clash. Anime is the result of the export of American animation to the Japan which in turn took what it liked, added its own style and subjects and exported it to the West where it is wildly popular. Cheerleader culture is absorbed and modified by American minority youth to make something quite different from its white bread origins.
Manifest: Colonial Tendencies of the West features approximately thirty works by artists from around the globe. Each artist in Manifest takes the benign and aggressive aspects of Western colonization and makes manifest the resulting mixtures of culture, politics, and commerce. Manifest presents work by Philip Kwame Apagya, Amy Chan, Luis Gispert and Jeffrey Reed, Patti Hallock, Danny Ledonne, Louise Noguchi, and Kehinde Wiley. The exhibition features documentary photographs of Wild West recreation villages, a film that hypes American sterotypes, paintings of franchise restaurants dropped into pastoral landscapes, a video game that deals with the Columbine Massacre, paintings and sculpture of hip-hop culture, photographs that document suburban basements, and portraits of Ghanaian citizens taken in front of backdrops depicting their dream lives filled with Western exports.
“This exhibition will be a major step forward for the contemporary art scene in Colorado Springs,” said Christopher Lynn, Director of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, UCCS. “We will be exhibiting internationally-known artists who have never shown in Colorado. Manifest tackles difficult topics in a way that we feel the public will understand and respond.”
Manifest: Colonial Tendencies of the West was curated by Christopher Lynn, Director of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, UCCS. This is Lynn’s first curated exhibition for UCCS. Previously, Lynn was the Assistant Curator of Museums and Galleries at DePauw University.