torika bolatagici

Writing

Claiming the (N)either/(N)or of ‘Third Space’: (re)presenting hybrid identity and the embodiment of mixed race

As a multiracial artist, I am interested in how people of mixed race have been represented in popular culture and how mixed race image-makers can redress popular representation and facilitate a movement beyond the dichotomy, which seeks to reduce us to the sum of our parts. In the footsteps of Evelyn Alsultany I advocate the creation of a new cartography—a space that is inclusive and beyond existing notions of race. To this end I embarked on a project of exploration of the representation of multiracial identity, drawing from Homi K. Bhabha’s notion of Third Space.
Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2004

Daughters of the Diaspora: Re-defining Hip Hop in Australia

It wasn’t until Doesa explored American rap music by female artists that she discovered lyrical content that she could relate to and artists she could admire as role models. American artists like Foxy Brown and Lil Kim presented an empowered version of Black female subjectivity that she hadn’t seen before. She explains that these artists “made me feel good about myself…and the black female thing, you know? You don’t hear much of that kind of stuff in Australia.” While there were superficial elements to the music that Doesa couldn’t relate to, there were other concepts with which she could connect: “I can’t relate to “pimpin’ ho’s and slammin Cadillac do’s” but I can relate to race and class issues and not wanting to fit into something that’s acceptable. Like sort of rebelling a bit from how you’re supposed to be.”
Excerpt from forthcoming book chapter.

Identity and Authenticity in the Pacific Diaspora: Conversations on Art

“More and more there is an international art fetish for ‘in-between-ness’, conflict, migration and convergence which are realities for people all over the world. In recent years New Zealand has embraced its geo-political location, as a Pacific [Rim] nation with a unique and powerful indigenous history. Internationally, the Pacific-ness and the indigeneity of New Zealand are currencies of difference, interest and authenticity. Contemporary Pacific art has more control/freedom and space to grow and define itself these days.” Ema Tavola
Excerpt from forthcoming book chapter.

Embodiment or Empowerment: Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and the Politics of Punanny

The female grotesque is a concept used to describe women who do not fit the socially constructed model of femininity. Characteristically they are bold, sexually assertive, excessive, untamed, and most importantly they are powerful. How then could such positive descriptions be used in conjunction with the notion of ‘grotesque’? It would be ironic to describe a male as bold, sexually assertive, excessive, untamed and powerful as these are accepted to be masculine traits. What makes these women ‘grotesque’ is the fact that they are women who dare to transgress invisible boundaries that command a certain mode of gender specific behaviour. Madonna embodies the ‘female grotesque’ through her unrestrained sexual expression, and her excessive refusal to be disciplined by socially constructed notions of what is acceptable…
Excerpt from undergrad paper written in 1998.

The Power of Image: Representations of Black Americans in Television News

The day following the Simpson verdict, the New York Times presented a four page spread reiterating the familiar issues that had been continually highlighted from the beginning to the closure of the trial, including the issue of race. The media frequently used such phrases as ‘the race card’, ‘racial polarization’, they referred to the ‘predominantly African-American jury’, and ‘race relations in the US’ . Race was certainly an important factor in the trial, but the media’s treatment of the issue was equally important. Through the many forms of the media, the case revealed America’s underlying anxieties about Black success, Black violence, Black wealth, and  interracial sex.
Excerpt from undergrad paper written in 1997.


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