Films by artists induce scholars to work across art, film and cultural history. Accordingly, this article adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s film Un Ballo in Maschera (2004). The film is grounded in Shonibare’s unique use of African-print fabric in conjunction with references to European cultural and political history, but the film is also – it is alleged – rooted in Black British cinema and the transnational postcolonialism which emerged in the UK of the 1980s. The article starts with a general introduction to Shonibare’s art and the colonial connotations of the African-print fabric, which are also central to the critique of power in Un Ballo in Maschera. Its critical agenda is then analysed and put into historical perspective by relating the film to Black British film. A comparison with the Black Audio Film Collective’s key work Handsworth Songs (1986) substantiates the article’s assumption that Shonibare picks up the BAFC legacy of interrogating the official constructions of history in ways that lead to a politically invested, yet poetic and sensuous filmic rewriting of history.
Passepartout, 2013, Vol 18, Issue 34, p. 66-86
samtidskunst; film; postkolonialisme; Black British Film; transnationalisme; contemporary art; postcolonial discourse; transnationalism; Det Humanistiske Fakultet