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Analysis Of Marina Abramovic 's Photograph, Light Side And Dark Side '

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Marina Abramovic’s photograph “Light Side/Dark Side” is a black and white portrait of a young lady looking straight into your eyes. If you look at this photograph, it’s not her piercing look that perplexes you; it’s the hand hiding her left eye that prevents you from discovering the mystery behind that face. As the partial face leaves the viewer curious to see the rest, the shades of black and white add to the gloominess evident on her face. But you realize that you are not the only one whose view is obstructed, hers is too. It’s evident that the hand is not hers. The hand can be viewed as a symbol of distortion. Like in the photograph, distortion can obstruct the view of the world and leave you disturbed when you are unable to see the complete picture. But whose hand is ‘distorting’ your view and the lady’s? In his essay “Decolonising the Mind,” Ngugi Wa Thiong’o sheds light onto the cause and effect of distortion in his childhood. Ngugi recounts his experience of being born in Kenya, a country under colonial rule by the British, and how the imposition of a foreign language, English, broke the harmony between the language of his formal education and that of his Limuru peasant community. The colonial power can be viewed as the hand from Abramovic’s photograph that is distorting the relation Ngugi shares with his language and culture. Before the British imposed English, that is before the distortion, Ngugi fondly remembers the peaceful days when the Limuru community used
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