I have always been interested in the cross-pollination of cultures. Change inevitably occurs with the introduction of new technologies, fashions, or music from one environment to another—to mixed results.
Imposed change is not always for the better, especially in botany, perhaps: we all know the story of Kudzu vines, which were introduced in the US from Japan in 1876 as a groundcover to halt erosion. Thinking this was going to help, the fast growing plant turned out to be an invasive species. In the southern states where it thrives, kudzu is simply part of the landscape now, having engulfed houses, trees, and everything in its path.
The colonization of Africa by the Europeans in the late nineteenth century gave rise to cataclysmic change as ancient tribes were forced into imperialist dominated regimes. Bows, arrows, and spears proved ineffective against modern artillery and firearms. After colonization, native carvers and artisans began creating portraits of their European visitors, which they sold to tourists and the white ruling class.
Traditional rugs made for centuries in Afghanistan began to change suddenly in the early 1980s, when the Soviet Union was at war with the country. Quite suddenly, objects of that war—Kalashnikov rifles, tanks, helicopters, and missiles began appearing in the rugs that used to feature centuries-old traditional designs. Now, after a decade of war with the United States, it is not only helicopters, but F-16s and drones that are appearing in new rugs.
So, with this in mind, I went in search of images that showed the insertion of one culture to another, from photographs to objects.
ollection of John Foster