E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

Mucha exhibit at NC Musuem of Art

Yesterday my sister took myself, my Aunt, and my Mom to the NC Art Museum exhibit of Mucha's work. I do enjoy the graphic design of the period, but i am not swept up as i am with some other types of visual art. I did find Mucha's celebration of his people very interesting, tickling my awareness the way learning of Estonian history did. Recognizing that Europeans colonized and oppressed other Europeans adds a complexity to world history, one that my childhood history education had little time for. (I did know of Mediterranean colonies, Greeks setting up elsewhere.)

“What struck me in a huge way was the fact that a people that had just liberated itself from 300 years of Habsburg oppression could seriously discuss oppressing inhabitants of some none European regions. Interestingly enough, the question of native inhabitants was never mentioned in those discussions.

“It was all discussed from the economic point of view,.... However, the problem of oppressing another group of people never came up.”

[more conversation]

“Precisely during the enlightenment the intellectuals in the Czech lands,... have feelings of being marginalised.... I think that from the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century you can see the effort to marginalise non-Europeans in discussions, so that we can be seen as educated Europeans.”

-- Markéta Křížová

At one point in my past i became very curious about Spain's past as a window to American future. I reasoned Spain had been an incredible "melting pot", a world power, and had since become less of a player on the world stage. What changed? So i looked for history books and found, first, histories of Spain in English are few compared to the histories of South and Central America. When i finally found one, i found the English author expressing little dismissive phrases that were probably not meant as dismissive but revealed an underlying bias, much like you might find a man writing "admiringly" about a woman in the 1970's showing a bias when read today.

I note that any "European History" i learned was so biased to Western Europe that i can't be sure if my suspicion of a bias against Eastern Europeans (along with exoticism and Orientalism) is founded merely on my own ignorance, but the last comment from Markéta Křížová leads me to think that's true.

ANYHOW, the commentary about Mucha's use of ethnic costume and symbols in his work reminded me of how the late 1800s - early 1900s were stirrings of independence and efforts to fight oppression that resonate with today.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/872770.html .
Tags: morning writing

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