Public Lecture: Every mickle mek a mockle by Dr Christine Checinska

Photo by :Desi Fontaine

Dr Christine Checinska
Photo by : Desi Fontaine

Hosted by The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD)
30 September 2015
FADA Gallery, Bunting Road Campus, Auckland Park


The Jamaican proverb Every Mickle Mek a Mockle (‘little by little’ or ‘every little adds up’) describes the carnivalised theoretical approach of Dr Checinska as a writer, curator and creative practitioner. It also describes a particular approach to male African diasporic dress, where dress is seen as a creolised, non-verbal ‘Nation Language’ and identities that are in a constant state of flux are reconfigured and temporarily fused, exposing fractured diasporic narratives. In this presentation, Dr. Checinska analyses the dressed body in relation to specific creolised cultural forms and broken histories, considering three moments of presence which trouble grand narratives, retelling (hi)-stories from another perspective:

(i) the arrival of the Empire Windrush; the moment when the Empire came ‘home’;

(ii) the spectacle of the Haitian Revolution leaders clad in the ornate dress uniforms of the Ancient Regime, presenting a visual challenge to the equation of Africans with nakedness, and nakedness with the ‘uncivilised’ (a lack of history and culture);

(iii) the phenomenon of the Gentlemen of Bakongo, members of ‘the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People’, who adopt the dress styles of their former colonial masters despite their living in the midst of conflict and poverty.

Dr Christine Checinska is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of East London, a Research Associate at VIAD, University of Johannesburg and the 2nd Stuart Hall Library Animateur at Iniva, Rivington Place, London. Christine’s work as a writer and curator is situated at the meeting point between fashion, textiles and contemporary art. A primary concern is the relationship between cloth, culture and race from the perspective of the African Diasporas. Her recent publications include Reconfiguring Diasporic Identities in Beyond Borders, John Hutnyk (ed.), Pavement Books, (2012) and Crafting Difference: Art, Cloth and the African Diasporas in Cultural Threads: Transnational Textiles, Jessica Hemmings (ed.), Bloomsbury Publications, (2014). She combines all this with her work as a design consultant in the fashion industry.


For further information on the event please contact:
James Macdonald, Curatorial Project Manager, Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre
Office: +27 (0)11 559 1249, Email:
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