Sonia Boyce From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born ‘Native’ Considers her Relationship to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction 1987

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Artwork details

Artist
Sonia Boyce born 1962
Title
From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born ‘Native’ Considers her Relationship to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction
Date 1987
Medium Photographs, black and white, on paper, photocopies on paper, acrylic paint , ballpoint pen, crayon and felt-tip pen
Dimensions Support: 1240 x 3590 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1987
Reference
T05021
Not on display

Display caption

This photo-based work raises questions about the effect of the diaspora of the African peoples - their historical dispersion across the world through slavery and colonisation - on the identity and representation of black people. Boyce is the 'English born Native' of the title. The picture developed from a desire to consider the relationship between her own 'self-image' and the one offered by a predominantly white society through the mass media. The scale of the work and its reference to Hollywood heroes such as Tarzan and Rambo point to the power of film to perpetuate sterotypes. Photobooth portraits of the artist dominate the image. They refer in part to voodooo trance, often parodied in Hollywood films.

August 2004