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The African Spirit Series...

... creates a pop art-inspired metaphor for the cultural colonization of Africa.  The overall impressions of the pieces are that of colorful, pop art-inspired textile murals, reminiscent of the monumental installations within New York’s JFK American Airlines terminal.  At the heart is a symbolic mixing of European and African cultures, reflected through the integration of more-elegant, typically-European evening fabrics with the more-traditional, everyday patternwork worn by many African cultures. The result is a new and pleasing visual aesthetic.

The power of African textile is held in what it provides for communities.  Patterns form a visual touchstone for people to connect to and are often worn as a form of identity, sometimes marking significant life events in the process.  They embody the African people and are the perfect metaphor for global African culture, in general.

At work is Croteau’s continued fascination with the absorption and reflection of light… the true essence of color creation.  All colors reflect and absorb light, but in these instances the effect is accentuated through the mixing of European fabrics that shine with more-utilitarian African textiles that don’t. A playful energy is created that bounces the eye.

On a slightly darker note, the pieces juxtaposes areas of various absorbent black media.  While this juxtaposition helps to make the pieces visually arresting, the areas also symbolize the aspects of African culture that are absorbed and overpowered by globalization.  To balance, the pieces also juxtapose areas of obvious shine and brilliance which reflect an optimism for the hybrid cultures that are created in the process.

Texture and an overall sculptural rhythm round the pieces at the same time that they symbolize the ebb and flow of the overall global cultural process, further reinforced by the overall pop-cultural inspiration of the pieces.




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