Museum coloniality : displaying Asian art in the whitened context
Wang, S. (2021). Museum coloniality : displaying Asian art in the whitened context. The International Journal of Cultural Policy, 27(6), 720-737. https://doi.org/10.1080/10286632.2020.1842382
Published inThe International Journal of Cultural Policy
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
The transformation of Musée Guimet and the transition of museums in the ‘countries of origin’ of its collections elucidates how white-cube crystallises Western cultural hegemony by erasing the colonial past of the objects and by representing the physical form of modernity. It contributes as well to nullifying the demand of repatriation, which seems to merely raise new power struggles rather than to recover indigenous beliefs (or identities). Through such a muséographie, the deities of the Other are ‘elevated’ from ethnographic specimen into art in the West while ‘diminished’ from sacred icons into art or historical artefacts in Asia. Museumification as such constitutes a whitening (Westernisation) heritage process that physically and epistemologically secularises non-Western faiths. Although the temple-simulated design is applied and limited Buddhist practice allowed in certain exhibition milieu or tourism destination, the phenomenon of museum coloniality is to be further studied should cultural diversity be indispensable for better heritage futures. ...
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Jyväskylän Yliopisto.
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