Renovating the Canon

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“The renovation of the canon must also include the methodologies that will drive it. This would ensure those artists deemed as ‘outsiders’ are no longer subjected to ethnographic observation or classified through anthropological methodologies that uphold or privilege Eurocentrism. The canon must also include multiple perspectives and various non-traditional modes of knowledge collection and sharing, such as ‘yarning’, oral histories and community led knowledge. Along with the concerns of ‘how’ knowledge is collected, comes the question of ‘who’ is doing the collecting. Perhaps the answer is as simple as privileging the cultural experiences of researchers and scholars from within the ‘outsider’ communities. The question of ‘who’ can also be answered by fully embracing the ‘gift’ of the contemporary, having access to living artists, the ‘outsider artists’ who art historians and curators can readily interview and document in context. By adding these tools to the renovation toolkit, this will no doubt aid in curtailing the potential difficulties ordinarily prevalent when writing on the outside, and about the outside: that of misrepresentation and tokenism.

NUR SHKEMBI, INDEPENDENT CURATOR

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