The term ‘banana republic’ originates in political science, describing politically unstable countries whose
economies are largely dependent on the export of a single resource, such as bananas. It arose in the 1870s
when bananas were introduced to the United States as a cheap and nutritional food source, and North
American companies subsequently began manipulating national land use laws in Central and South America
to acquire vast areas of land for agriculture while employing dispossessed native peoples as low-wage
workers. Though this practice originated in Latin America it has also been broadly adapted to characterise
nations with corrupt governance whose economies are vulnerable to exploitation by foreign corporate
Coconut Republic is a body of work — spanning sculpture, textile, video, site-specific painting and text — that explore how American corporate ideology has colonised our modern field of vision. A cast of iconic international brands and emblems are deployed as ambassadors of a seemingly counterfeit reality in which ‘America’ is the single most valuable and volatile export of our time.
The central work, Coconut Republic (above), is a single-channel video consisting of footage cut from various Hollywood-produced films whose narratives take place in various foreign zones of conflict, but have actually all been filmed in the Philippines.