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Tropical Style

When artist Paul Gauguin arrived in Papeete in June 1891, his romantic image of Tahiti as an untouched landscape, a paradise derived in part from Pierre Loti's novel Le Mariage de Loti (1880). What is worth noting is that Gauguin was actually disappointed by the extent to which French colonization had corrupted everyday life in Tahiti. He subsequently attempted to immerse himself in what he believed were the authentic aspects of the culture. By later including Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics, he displayed what is referred to in Western art as Primitivism. Typically borrowed from non-Western or prehistoric people perceived to be “primitive", the likes of Gauguin and Henri Rousseau borrowed from subject matter deemed exotic or indeed tropical such as in Rousseau's In a Tropical Forest Combat of a Tiger and a Buffalo (1908–1909). 

Despite non-Western art being important to the development of modern art, Primitivism has often been critiqued for reproducing racist stereotypes. Now, it can be argued then that the canon is no longer entirely Western-centric and tropical style art movement has been later depicted by the African artworks of Roger Djiguemde and also Ana Maria Dias who hails from Brazil. Further implementing the importance of this art style despite how exotic its setting.

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