What happens when the colonized assimilates his colonizer’s truth and live it as his own?
“BEARSKIN” is a series visually representing the internal conflict between an immigrant’s native culture and the one he came to know and adopt as his own when he settled in to a new country.
The history of Europe's colonization and cultural imperialism has resulted in generations of people leaving their native countries in the hopes of finding a better life in the country that colonized their own. And in order to thrive in the society in which they settle, immigrants often have to assimilate to the culture surrounding them, sometimes to the detriment of their own.
Typically worn by the British Royal Guards during formal ceremonies, the Bearskin hat on the head of the black subject represents the immigrant’s forced allegiance to the culture that colonized him.
The red gloves are reminiscent of the gloves worn by the Queen and other Royals, and the red of the gloves is synonymous with the blood that has been spilled to further European's colonial and imperialist agenda. The subject wearing the gloves represent the immigrant assimilating the colonizer’s culture and accepting it as his own.
On the other hand, the red around his eyes represent his native African culture and his desire to remain independent, free and true to himself and his values.
The combination of all of these items result in an internal conflict for the subject, lost between wanting to keep his culture alive and assimilating to survive.
By juxtaposing these different ideas of belonging, culture and assimilation, "BEARSKIN" tell the story of many immigrants with dual citizenship, who have felt the need to adopt the culture of the country in which they now live in order to be accepted.