Humour in Contemporary Indigenous Photography: Re-focusing the Colonial Gaze

Meagan Sugrue



Abstract: Although photography has long been used as a tool of colonial oppression to portray Indigenous peoples as either a “vanishing race” or to confirm their assimilation into the dominant colonial culture, contemporary Indigenous photographers are using humour to turn the colonial gaze back on itself. This article discusses the use of humour as a teaching tool by exploring the role of the “trickster” as a mode of subversion. Five Indigenous artists’ works are analyzed through this lens in order to show how contemporary Indigenous photographers employ elements of irony and satire to reveal the insidious nature of colonial stereotypes.



Indigenous Photography; Colonial Gaze; Trickster; Ethnographic Photography

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Copyright (c) 2012 Meagan Sugrue


This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 Unported License.


ISSN 1923-1334 (Online)

University of Victoria