WESTERN IMAGINATION

WESTERN IMAGINATION

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Daisuke Tohyama

            We learned Orientalism which refers to sort of stereotypes such as inferiority and, strangeness, barbarism, primitivism, exoticism, and decadence. Because this is the first time for me to analyze arts through the Oriental perspective, it was surprising for me that even famous painters such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin had sort of Orientalism within their works. Although we can make sure whether the image of Thahiti or Africa in these painting is true or not on the Internet, I can easily imagine that earlier people may have believed that was true.  

            What caught my interests was that because Orientalism or Eastern in Western is very complicated and well-incorporated or internalized by local people in Asia, even local people cannot easily recognize what the ideas look like. Machida mentions that “Despite Fuentes artificially made up Filipino culture, numerous viewers including fellow Filipinos were unable to apprehend the intellectual motivation behind its subtly mocking premise and instead believed the story in his work to be factual.”(Machida 75) That means that although he tried to imply that Filipino culture, which he made up is created by Orientalism, viewers did not notice that the culture was sort of image of Oriental Filipino culture. Machida also states that “Colonial settings became channels for mutual cultural exchange. Indian culture puts Western popular images to its own uses as well.”(Machida 83) That means whereas Western people see Indian as oriental culture, Indian culture incorporate Western culture such as Bollywood. Then who knows which one is influenced by Orientalism, Indian culture or British Indian culture? Even local people in India could not recognize which culture is what.

            Machida also mentions that “people of Asian descent continue to find themselves enmeshed, to differing degrees, in these interrelated discourses of primitivism and Orientalism that have been so elaborated in the Western imagination”(Machida 63). That implies that Asian decent face many type of identity and suffer from imagination of Asia by Western even though they were not born in Asian countries.

            Although I already mentioned that we can make sure whether the image of Asian countries by Western imagination is true or not on the Internet, nowadays even local people could not exactly recognize which one is Western imagination. But I believe that knowing about Orientalism through arts helps us analyze our heritage culture critically and find out why I am more likely to be attached to certain culture or to what culture I seem attached.

 

 

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