What Is Cultural Appropriation

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There are countless definitions of cultural appropriation, and whether or not is it bad, however in reality many people are unaware that they are using it. To put it simply, cultural appropriation is taking someone else’s cultural expressions or knowledge from their very own culture, without permission. This can be seen in numerous forms which are familiar to this day and age. This includes music, dance, fashion, language and food. Nonetheless these are obvious examples, art on the other hand, is something that many people don't notice. It is undeniable that contemporary artists today are victims of this, using it primarily to make a statement to the public that goes against a dominant ideology, and this ultimately seems to be the key to the…show more content…
Steven Cohen deals with issues of identity and due to him being both Jewish and homosexual, he feels he is a double minority and finds himself dealing with foreign “otherness” everyday of his life. Aesthetically, Cohen appropriates from bourgeois privilege; Christmas tree ornaments, transforming himself into a site of pure pleasure. The artist is clearly appropriating from the traditional English upper class since the Jewish, in actual fact, traditionally celebrate Christmas decoration using candelabras, and as a result he is crossing over two contrary cultures. Cohen has once more appropriated in terms of “drag queen”, which hails from the female and this is resembled in his female appearance, wearing stiletto high heels and a…show more content…
Kendell Geers is a South African artist, who, having grown up in the separated South Africa, states that he sees the world differently. To him, the world is upside down and Africa is a whole lot bigger than the map portrays it to be. Being a white Afrikaner, it was not only race that separated South Africa, but language also played a vital role in this segregation. Because he was white, he was told that Apartheid was good and for him it was meant to be. However, it was not. It was only after this time that Geers reinvented himself, he says that he “gave birth to himself;” claiming himself a new heritage and morality whilst attempting to neglect his past.

In terms of politics and appropriation, his work titled ‘With your) back to the wall’ clearly defines how he incorporates cultural appropriation into his own unique style. Many people, Kendell Geers included, never seem to know where the crossing line is in terms of “borrowing" and “stealing” from other people. However, having grown up in Africa, South Africa specifically, he says “I am happy to invent and steal images.” Geers strongly believes that because he
Figure 3 comes from Africa, having had everything stolen from it he therefore feels no shame to steal from the
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