The article examines Albert Wendt’s "Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree" and argues that this short story (1974) expresses views compatible with two characteristic concerns of postcolonial aesthetics: on the one hand, an identity politics which undermines the ideological and strategic use of Western canonical and hierarchical versions of beauty in order to champion an alternative aesthetic, on the other hand a meditation about the necessary, though extremely painful, abandonment of an oral culture in favour of a chirographic one. Both beauty and ethnicity are epitomized and symbolized by the tattoo art forms used in this region: 'tatau' and 'malu' serve as political signifiers and testify the use of a textual body-politics using a 'dissenting bodies' aesthetics. This is the new aesthetics of a besieged colonial identity, threatened by Western conformism, the aesthetics of people who want rather to assert themselves as 'soga'imiti', bodies proclaiming their irreducible, unique, personal identity.

Albert Wendt's 'Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree': Contagious Infection and Regional Dissenting Bodies

BEZRUCKA, Yvonne
2006

Abstract

The article examines Albert Wendt’s "Flying Fox in a Freedom Tree" and argues that this short story (1974) expresses views compatible with two characteristic concerns of postcolonial aesthetics: on the one hand, an identity politics which undermines the ideological and strategic use of Western canonical and hierarchical versions of beauty in order to champion an alternative aesthetic, on the other hand a meditation about the necessary, though extremely painful, abandonment of an oral culture in favour of a chirographic one. Both beauty and ethnicity are epitomized and symbolized by the tattoo art forms used in this region: 'tatau' and 'malu' serve as political signifiers and testify the use of a textual body-politics using a 'dissenting bodies' aesthetics. This is the new aesthetics of a besieged colonial identity, threatened by Western conformism, the aesthetics of people who want rather to assert themselves as 'soga'imiti', bodies proclaiming their irreducible, unique, personal identity.
Albert Wendt; critical regionalism; aethetic regionalism; postcolonial aesthetics; tattooing; tattoo; identity and body politics in the South Pacific; dissenting identity strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/433952
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