Modernism: the new?

Simon Gikandi’s article, “Picasso, Africa and the Schemata of Difference” mentioned that “even when artists such as Picasson questioned colonial practices, they seemed to reproduce the colonist model of African societies; they questioned the practice but not the theory of colonialism. This structure- the questioning of practice and the aceptance of the theory- tends to be reproduced when we don’t interrogate the idea of Africa in modern art.” This passage particularly caught my eye as I felt that this aptly decribes the changing relations between countries with the advent of modernism. To me, I feel that modernism is not just about revelations in art and the literary forms but it also encompasses the change of political, economic and cultural forces in the world. in these sense, modernism not only gave rein to the freedom of space and time, but the world war which preceded it shattered a world view built on foundation of illusions. To me, the freedom of space and time in modernism enabled people to discover the world in new perspectives which were repressed. It can perhaps be suggested that the “new forms” being discovered in the world as a mirror to the establishment of “new forms” in literary works and art even though they are not really new.

With this in mind, it can also be suggested that just as the reading titled “Mimesis” suggested, modernism is not a new concept. Rather, it is an expansion of the old of which artists and writers try to pass of as a novelty. Yet, it is interesting to note that many consider it to be a breakthrough period because as all the three readings have shown, at least for me, that it is a circulatory system of power beneath all the fancy terms that are being endowed on it.