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Abstract: Yinka Shonibare MBE's oeuvre of ethnically-ambiguous mannequins dressed Victorian clothes made out of African fabrics has captured the imaginations of contemporary African art history, not the least because this combination throws doubt onto what audiences think is "African" or "Victorian." However, while studies of Shonibare exhaust the ironies of using Dutch wax prints, themselves the ... read moreproduct of European imperial trade, to signify Africanness, less studied are the ironies sewn into the skirts and bodices of nineteenth-century Victorian fashion. This project investigates those latter ironies in How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Ladies) (2006). As a rich nexus of fashion and history, (Ladies) is a prime example of a new rhetorical concept—the Postcostume—that I argue can be used to insert the discipline of costume history and design into the study of Shonibare's work and art history at large.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2018.
Submitted to the Dept. of Art and Art History.
Advisor: Peter Probst.
Committee: Jacob Stewart-Halevy, and Kendra Bell-Reddington.
Keywords: Art history, African studies, and Fashion.read less