Bird in Flight Prize ‘20 Finalist: Woman Go No’gree
Gloria Oyarzabal, Spain
Empires, by their nature, embody and institutionalize difference, both between metropolis/colony and between colonial subjects. Imperial imaginary floods popular culture. Gender categories were one kind of bio-logic “new tradition” European colonialism institutionalized in Yoruba, Igbo, as well as other African cultures. Can we assume social relations in all societies are organized around biological sexual difference? Beauty canons, modernity, stereotypes… Beauty circulates as a commodity with social, economic, cultural value. However, these norms are often measured with Eurocentric values, white beauty narratives, ideals of beauty being strongly racialized. Whiteness is reinforced as the norm, while “otherness” becomes a fetish, “exotic”. Our socially accepted norms of beauty that idealize thinness, youth, and whiteness converge with the exoticization of black women. Decolonized feminisms question the eurocentric rational theoretical frameworks that construct gender categories in a universal manner.
The project title is a subtly changed line from the song “Lady” by Afrobeat music creator Fela Kuti. “Woman no go’gree” in lingua franca pidgin — a mix of English and Creole — means something like “woman will not listen, or will not agree”.