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Red Paint: Transnational Movements of Deconstructing, Decolonizing, and Defacing Colonial Structures

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This article examines the symbolic nature of using red paint on established colonial structures with transnational connections. When used by indigenous people on structures installed by or deemed to represent colonial powers, it becomes a shared act of reclamation and connects to a deeper connected history, subverting both the structure and the narrative it produces in its defacement. Deconstructing these colonial “relics” with the use of red paint repurposes them as decolonizing instruments. In this article, three case studies are employed to follow the evolving use of red paint on colonial structures and how this illustrates an attempt to create transnational-indigenous decolonizing practices. I begin with an exploration on the occupation of Alcatraz. The transnational connection is picked up when red paint is poured onto colonial monuments and used to inscribe messages around these structures of memory, explored in Tasmania and Namibia. I argue that red paint stands in as a practice of continued decolonizing, and an attempt to interrupt the colonial enshrinements in the nationalized narratives.



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Transmotion: Native American Narratives in a Global Context

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