From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born ‘Native’ Considers her Relationship to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction

© Sonia Boyce. All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Image credit: Tate

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This photo-based work raises questions about the effect of the diaspora of the African peoples – their historical dispersion across the world through slavery and colonisation – on the identity and representation of black people. Boyce is the 'English born Native' of the title. The picture developed from a desire to consider the relationship between her own 'self-image' and the one offered by a predominantly white society through the mass media. The scale of the work and its reference to Hollywood heroes such as Tarzan and Rambo point to the power of film to perpetuate stereotypes. Photobooth portraits of the artist dominate the image. They refer in part to voodoo trance, often parodied in Hollywood films.


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More information

From Tarzan to Rambo: English Born ‘Native’ Considers her Relationship to the Constructed/Self Image and her Roots in Reconstruction




Photographs, black and white, on paper, photocopies on paper, acrylic paint, ballpoint pen, crayon and felt-tip pen


H 125 x W 360 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased 1987

Work type

Mixed media & collage


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