Image and Identity: Modelling the Emergence of a 'New' Rock Art Tradition in Southern Africa
Geoffrey Blundell [+]
KwaZulu-Natal Museum, South Africa
Research into the rock art of southern Africa has tended to make links between traditions that are not ‘San’ and some putative ethnic identity. At best, these research efforts lean towards essentialism; at worst, they end up making simplistic correlations between material culture and cultural identity. Scholars rarely attempt the complex issue of how image and identity are intertwined. By considering rock paintings that are different to ‘San’ imagery, from Nomansland in the south-eastern mountains of South Africa, and by situating those images within a historical context, I argue that it is possible to model the entanglement between image and identity for at least some parts of southern Africa.