The Fugitive Image: Colonial Terror and Contemporary Art

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As colonial visual culture now fully integrates the mainstream of historical research and artistic practice at a global level, one subset of imagery still remains woefully unaddressed: the atrocity photograph. This essay provides a brief historical contextualization of the role of photography in decolonization wars and the concurrent emergence of critical theorizing on violent images, and why it still remains exceedingly
difficult to analyse graphic pictures in the colonial context; then, honing in on the case of the Portuguese colonial wars in Africa (1961-1975), it examines the rare appropriation of a shocking photograph in Daniel Barroca’s work Circular Body (2015).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-87
Number of pages17
JournalObservatorio (OBS*)
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Visual Culture
  • Atrocity Photography
  • Colonial Propaganda
  • Decolonization Wars


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