Lost trophies: Hunting animals and the imperial souvenir in Walton Ford’s Pancha Tantra

Whittle, Matthew (2016) Lost trophies: Hunting animals and the imperial souvenir in Walton Ford’s Pancha Tantra. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 51 (2). pp. 196-210. ISSN 0021-9894. E-ISSN 1741-6442. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0021989415624957) (Full text available)

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Abstract

This article argues that the work of contemporary American artist Walton Ford stages the paradoxical role that trophy hunting played in both establishing and undermining the strict racial, biological and ecological hierarchization of colonial environments. American Flamingo (1992) and Lost Trophy (2005), from the 2009 collection Pancha Tantra, foreground how the tradition of nineteenth-century naturalist art, characterized by John James Audubon, and popular narratives of trophy hunting expeditions, such as Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa (1935), are complicit in colonialist domination. In doing so, Ford’s watercolours of hunted animals, which adopt many of the tropes popularized by Audubon, point to the Spivakian notion of “epistemic violence” behind an ostensibly innocuous, taxonomic art form. At the same time, the painting Lost Trophy recalls the writings of Joseph Conrad and George Orwell, investing animals with the power to unsettle the assumed superiority of the colonial hunter. My interdisciplinary analysis adopts literary strategies for reading artistic works, allowing for a broader understanding of the growing relationship between postcolonial studies and ecocriticism.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/91947/
Uncontrolled keywords: Walton Ford, John James Audubon, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, trophy hunting, contemporary art, postcolonial ecocriticism, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Subjects: N Fine Arts
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research
Depositing User: Matthew Whittle
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2017 14:09 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2017 10:30 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/63710 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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