Frequently used as mobile storage containers or baggage by migrants and traders moving across borders, the mesh bag made of red, blue, and white polypropylene fibers has become a prominent element of African visual culture. This light, strong, and affordable woven bag, often referred to as “China bag” or “Chinese tote,”1 features prominently in recent artistic practices by African artists such as Nobukho Nqaba, Dan Halter, and Gerald Machona. In this essay I examine how these artistic interventions using photography, installation, video, and performance, circulating in galleries, museums, and the streets, contribute to sociological discussions about the ways in which emerging trajectories, relationships, and identities are perceived and debated in the context of the global South. I do not view the South here as a settled geopolitical order, but understand it as a concept about mobilities, transitions, and shifting relations.2 More specifically, I suggest that transformation of China...
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June 01 2018
“The Bag Is My Home”: Recycling “China Bags” in Contemporary African Art
Online ISSN: 1937-2108
Print ISSN: 0001-9933
© 2018 by the Regents of the University of California.
The Regents of the University of California
African Arts (2018) 51 (2): 18–31.
Ying Cheng; “The Bag Is My Home”: Recycling “China Bags” in Contemporary African Art. African Arts 2018; 51 (2): 18–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/afar_a_00400
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