Abstract

For centuries the image of the Dusky Maiden has occupied a prominent place in the Western imagination. Indeed, nowhere has it been so effectively shaped and deployed than through the visual arts. Portrayed as naive belles-cum-femme fatales through early Western paintings and later photographs, Polynesian women were presented to foreign audiences as symbols of the exotic, erotic, and dangerous. In the contemporary period, female Polynesian artists have sought to reconceptualize, challenge, subvert, and invert the image of their dusky maiden "sibling" in order to open up alternative spaces in which to reread this centuries-old icon. Here, I focus on the visual art creations of three women: Rosanna Raymond, Shigeyuki Kihara, and Sue Pearson, each of whom is actively engaged in reinscribing the stereotype of the Dusky Maiden with new and empowering meaning.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 1-35
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-21
Open Access
No
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