Who needs bananas in New Guinea?

Scope and Content

Mail Art. The background is a photocopy of Musa’s well-known series of textile paintings Who needs bananas in New Guinea? with his own photo in front; both of their faces have stamp collages. The main figure is that of the entertainer Josephine Baker based on an iconic 1929 photograph. Bananas refer to Baker’s costume of fake bananas with their implied, racist, second class metaphor. Musa often reinterprets Baker who stood her ground in the 1920’s Parisian nightlife through satirical humour; he also used this rendering of Baker to revisit the parable of Suzanne and the Elders.

Access Information

Collection currently on display in the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, until 23rd March 2019.

Restrictions Apply

Acquisition Information

The donation was made to SOAS Library in June 2018 by Elsbeth Court, an academic who teaches African Art on the IFCELS course at SOAS, with the support and agreement of the artist Hassan Musa.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

brown paper envelope 23cm x 32cm

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright in the artwork of Hassan Musa assigned to SOAS by the artist, 2018. Copyrights persist in other images and texts. The user is advised to investigate copyrights before making any re-use of this material.