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Ruptures and Disrupters

Ruptures and Disrupters

The Photographic Landscapes of Ingrid Pollard and Zarina Bhimji as Revisionist History of Great Britain

(p.209) Ruptures and Disrupters
Anywhere But Here
Kimberli Gant
University Press of Mississippi

Kimberly Gant’s essay “Ruptures and Disruptures: The Photographic landscape of Ingrid Pollard and Zarina Bhjimji as Revisionist History of Great Britain,” underscores the importance of the emergence of two photographers whose work reflects the racially charged climate of the United Kingdom in the 1980s. By focusing on the work of Pollard’s Pastoral Interludes and Bhimji’s series Cleaning the Garden, Gant explores how their depictions of the iconic English garden, a symbol of “white Englishness” and the “purity of heritage,” challenge the concept of English and British cultural identity. Both artists appropriate the idyllic country garden as the backdrop to the invisibility of Black people who made these very gardens possible as a result of the “enterprise of Empire.” Black English activists and artists drew inspiration from the African American Black Arts and Power Movements to formulate and cultivate what would become Britain’s Black Arts Movement. Through their appropriation of the traditional English garden, the artists make the seemingly invisible visible.

Keywords:   Ingrid Pollard, Zaruna Bhjimji, Revisionist History, Great Britain, English Gardens, British identity, Empire, Black Arts movement, Black Power movement, British Black Arts movement, Black English Activists

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