West Indian identity was created in the context of Diasporic migration and the West Indian front room as the `special' room designated in the domestic interiors of migrants was reserved for guests with restricted access to children. In response to the trauma of displacement, these migrants brought with them a sense of dignity, `good grooming', aspiration and desires for social respectability as remnants of a `colonial time' as suggested by Richard Wilk. The front rooms they created when they eventually acquired homes was based on the Victorian parlour of the Caribbean colonial elite in terms of social function and prescribed behaviour. The West Indian Front Room exhibition curated by Michael McMillan (Geffrye Museum 2005-06) attempts to critique the heritage orientated representation of West Indian migration, which to use Krista A Thompson's and Leon Wright's perspective is a `framed ideal' of the `tropical picturesque'.
Michael McMillan; The West Indian Front Room: Reflections on a Diasporic Phenomenon. Small Axe 1 March 2009; 13 (1): 135–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-2008-011
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