Francesco Cattani

Collage and Decollage: A Multi-Media Approach to Black and Asian British Identity

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Black Britain is a space of transcultural transformations: a process of encounters and collisions which entails the disruption of a previous order. Its literature and visual art are not only concerned with displaying experiences of insertion and adaptation within British society, but also with exploring and expanding the borders of a multi-layered identity that implies, even in its situatedness, transnational and transcultural routes. Within this frame, a multi-media approach may offer a way to tackle these continual processes of dis-articulation and re-articulation. Stemming from Salman Rushdie's "stereoscopic vision" and Stuart Hall's "cut-and-mix", I will choose examples from black British and Asian British artists and writers (Hanif Kureishi, Yinka Shonibare, The Singh Twins and Ferdinand Dennis) and, drawing upon the techniques of bricolage, collage and decollage, I will analyse them as instruments both to construct and read a multiple narrative. Through the lenses of bricolage, collage and decollage black and Asian British identity may appear as a collective performance: the production of a community constantly transforming itself in a double act of mediation and re-mediation with past/present/future and of incorporation of the different traditions, heritages and geographies that shape it.


  • Black Britain
  • Asian Britain
  • Identity
  • Collage
  • Decollage


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