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Grace Ndiritu
'Humanity's problems began as soon as we settled and became agriculturalists. Staying in one place enabled us to accumulate possessions and therefore create problems like pollution and over-consumption.' GN.

In the west our lives may be blighted by consumerism, but in the third world few can indulge in the luxury of wasteful spending. Ndiritu uses irony to address this complex issue. The title of Absolut Native is written in the blue typeface of Absolut vodka. As black feet stomp on bare soil to the cheerful sounds of the vibraphone, a statement by Joseph Stigltiz, former chief economist of the World Bank, scrolls underneath in the same typeface: 'It has long been individually accepted that some form of debt forgiveness was needed for highly indebted poor countries but... countries had to meet a series of hurdles set by the IMF (which) ... was hardly enthusiastic about what debt forgiveness would do to its balance sheet. Given all this it is not surprising that only three countries - Uganda, Bolivia and Guyana - met the hurdles and received debt relief.'

Its not hard to see whose tune the feet are dancing to, but the video is not merely a rant against the IMF; it touches on the more complex topic of the relationship between rich and developing nations. The barefoot dancer is the exotic 'other', whose cultural traditions have become a tourist attraction, a lure for foreign currency; but the price for putting oneself on display is high. Your culture may be preserved, but only as entertainment. 'You can commodify anything', says Ndiritu. 'You can commodify having an ''authentic'' experience, through tourism.' To mimic the way the third world is marketed, she has enhanced the rich tones of the image to make it as seductive as a Vodka ad.

Still from Absolut Native by Grace Ndiritu, 2003
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