"We owe a historical debt to no one": The reappropriation of photographic images from a museum collection

Helen Mears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A collection of photographs by colonial officer and amateur anthropologist James Henry Green now in the collections of Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has been extensively reappropriated and reused by members of the Kachin community from northern Burma who originally formed their subject. This article considers one specific use, in a music track and video produced as part of a collaboration between a Burma-based Kachin rap artist and a Kachin singer and media producer currently living in China. Released at a critical moment for the Kachin community, following the recent breakdown of a long-standing cease-fire agreement between the Kachin Independence Organization and the Burmese government, the track and video reveal some of the tensions at play between the outward-looking, transnational, and cosmopolitan tendencies of the growing overseas Kachin community and the nostalgic, territorially based ethnonationalism that has been at the heart of Kachin demands for greater political autonomy since the 1960s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-176
Number of pages15
JournalMuseum Worlds
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

Fingerprint

Museum Collections
Reappropriation
Photographic Images
Debt
Burma
Brighton Museum
Art
Artist
China
Autonomy
Music
Colonies
Singers
Amateur
Government
Ethnonationalism
1960s
Anthropologists

Keywords

  • Brighton Museum
  • Burma
  • James Henry Green
  • Jingpo
  • Kachin
  • Myanmar

Cite this

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"We owe a historical debt to no one": The reappropriation of photographic images from a museum collection. / Mears, Helen.

In: Museum Worlds, Vol. 5, No. 1, 01.07.2017, p. 162-176.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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