Art and migration: revisioning the borders of community is a collective response to current and historic constructs of migration as disruptive of national heritage. This interplay of academic essays and art professionals’ interviews investigates how the visual arts – especially by or about migrants – create points of encounter between individuals, places, and objects. Migration has increasingly taken centre stage in contemporary art, as artists claim migration as a paradigm of artistic creation. The myriad trajectories of transnational artworks and artists’ careers outlined in the volume are reflected in the density and dynamism of fairs and biennales, itinerant museum exhibitions and shifting art centres. It analyses the vested political interests of migration terminology such as the synonymous use of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ or the politically constructed use of ‘diaspora’. Political and cultural narratives frame globalisation as a recent shift that reverses centuries of cultural homogeneity. Art historians and migration scholars are engaged in revisioning these narratives, with terms and methodologies shared by both fields. Both disciplines are elaborating an histoire croisée of the circulation of art that denounces the structural power of constructed borders and cultural gatekeeping, and this volume reappraises the historic formation of national identities and aesthetics heritage as constructed under transnational visual influences. This resonates with migrant artists’ own demands for self-determination in a display space that too often favours canonicity over hybridity. Centring migration – often silenced by normative archives or by nationalist attribution practices – is part of the workload of revisioning art history and decolonising museums.
Edith May Fry and Australian expatriate art in the 1920s
displayed separately in the British section. … Therefore they are not recognised as English painters, while being debarred from exhibiting with the Australians. They may thus be considered to be nobody’s darlings. They would like to know, what their nationality is. (Anon., 1924a : 7)
Being exhibited in the British pavilion, although placed in a separate section, reflected the idea that – in the eyes of the British at least – Australian expatriateartists were considered more British than Australian. Such a situation therefore led these artists in England to question
The British Empire Exhibition and national histories of art
organising national exhibitions
abroad. 20 In this way, central control
could be exercised over all aspects of each national presentation, including the fine arts.
One reason for the exclusion of expatriateartists from the Australian, New Zealand and South
African sections was the logistical complexity of adding work sight-unseen after the final
selection had been made at home; but, more importantly, it would have meant the loss of
official control over the final presentation. In Canada, where the selection committee enjoyed
Congress subject headlines such as ‘Emigration and immigration in art’ or ‘Expatriateartists’, these tend to retrieve small amounts of results. And when you text search in the gloss produced by an artist’s gallery or agents, the information about migration is not always transparent, and often used and misrepresented – put forward or attenuated – according to an exhibition’s context.
Robyn Asleson: You were just talking about the thesaurus – there are so many synonyms for the mobility that you are talking about. At the moment, interviews with living artists and good
various constructs such as those of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, and further raised my interest in the historiography of Australian art. My positionality led me to reflect on my own sense of transnational belonging as well as that of Australian artists who travelled or migrated to Europe. Looking at the case of Edith May Fry and her efforts to give expatriateartists a place in the history of Australian art was therefore a way to look at issues related to expatriatism, translocation and cosmopolitanism.
Most scholars in this volume originate from the Global North, yet
. We have emphasised many lesser-known artists (such as
photographers John Plumbe, Jr and Stefano Lecchi, painters Charles Caryl
Coleman and Andrea Cefaly, and sculptors Francesco Pezzicar and Paul
Thek). A few more renowned American expatriateartists, such as John
Singer Sargent and Elihu Vedder, are also discussed, along with a group
of famous figures (Thomas Nast, Alexander Calder, Robert Smithson
military experiences, which took him to Athens and Syria, and
afterwards he settled on the island of Capri, where he joined a
group of expatriateartists and intellectuals. 27 Grieve, by contrast, was
born on the northern side of the Scottish border, at Langholm in
Dumfriesshire. Educated locally and in Edinburgh, he headed to South
Wales to begin his writing career, returning to Scotland in 1919
to speak a common language,
the monolingual majority of both French and British local populations usually did
not even realise the confusion they are causing (Baré n.d.). They resided in the same
areas but occupied different worlds. It is as though, mutually unaware, they almost
glided past one another. The same happened in the Mallorcan village of Deia, whose
famous resident Robert Graves attracted a colony of expatriateartists. As one of
the colony, who later became its ethnographer, stated: ‘Unless something occurred
which directly involved a local and a
Marry Me! – and Jean Simmons)
who arrive in Paris for the 1889 Grand Exposition. The brother mysteriously
vanishes from the hotel where they are staying and all the hotel staff deny
that he ever existed. Only through enlisting the help of an English
expatriateartist (played by Dirk Bogarde) does the sister discover that her
brother has contracted the plague and has been spirited quietly away in
order that the Exposition is
, ‘Masterminding the Rare Occasion,’ Shanghai Star (18 October
114 Julia F. Andrews and Kuiyi Shen, The Art of Modern China (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 2012), 185.
115 La Biennale di Venezia, 48 Esposizione Internazionale D’arte (Venice: La Biennale
di Venezia, 1999).
116 Erik Eckholm, ‘Cultural Revolution, Chapter 2; ExpatriateArtist Updates Maoist
Icon and Angers Old Guard,’ New York Times (17 August 2000), Sec E.
117 Yvonne Zhao, author’s correspondence with Cai Guo-Qiang Archives, Los
Angeles, 17 May 2016.
118 Fan Di’an, ‘Commissioner