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Diplomat With/Without Track Suit

Diplomat WithTrack Suit I, 2017
Rebekah Joanna Dahlia, Photographer
Archival Inkjet print
32”x40”

Diplomat Without Track Suit I, 2017
Rebekah Joanna Dahlia, Photographer
Archival Inkjet print
32”x40”

This photo series represents ongoing research into the inherently political aspects of sports and how the politicalization of sports functions throughout history. After a residency in Berlin, I began investigating the inner workings of the German Democratic Republic dictatorship established in East Germany post World War II. The GDR stands as the forerunner in the field of sports politics, and characteristics of the iconic political sports model lives on in contemporary capitalist socialites. High ranking government officials strategically mobilized an elite sport system as a means to increase international authority and image. Such high ranking political officers often referred to their athletes as, “diplomats in tracksuits”, as the athletes' personal successes in the realms of sport (particularly the international Olympic stage) represented the strength of the young East German government.

In this image the athlete-artist stands in a turquoise pant suit humorously taking on the sign of “diplomat” and exploring the the symbology and masking quality of “the uniform”. I consider the uniform to be anything that condenses or hides individually while simultaneously connecting people through shared cloth (ie the athletic uniform, military uniform, the dress suit, etc). The masked athlete-artist faces the wall and mimics the surrounding turf (fake grass). In this way, the composition hints at the possibility, and likelihood, of warped truth.

 


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