Jamaica has been on my mind a lot lately. My new fine art collection is a series of portraits titled FACES OF JAMAICA. Five images from this collection of 22 portraits are currently being exhibited at the Southwest Art Center in Atlanta, Georgia as part of an Atlanta Celebrates Photography exhibit titled EYE TO THE WORLD curated by Briana X. Camelo of the Fulton County Arts Council. I give an artist talk about that exhibit this Sunday October 28th.
Tonight another image from that collection will be auctioned off and exchanged as part of THE IMAGINARY MILLION, a curated exhibit, an art auction and gala sponsored by Wonderroot, MOCA GA, and The Zuckerman Museum of Kennesaw State University as part of ELEVATE, a week of "free contemporary art happenings" organized by the City of Atlanta's Office of Cultural Affairs.
Her ancestors were African, German, Welsh, Indian French and Costa Rican.
She's pure Jamaican.
One of the objectives of 50 SHADES OF BLACK is not only broadening the spectrum of what is considered beautiful and examining the complexity of skin tone, it is also about unpacking the definitions of diversity. Being "Black" or "Jamaican" is often seen as a homogeneous designation. This can't be further from the truth. What this ad offers our project is added affirmation into the multi layers that shape each of our identities. It poignantly challenges our assumptions, heralds the beauty of the woman featured, and champions the ethos of Jamaica -one that celebrates its rich diversity and acknowledges the sources of that diversity.
In this new collection, I also try to offer a glimpse of yet another view of Jamaica. In the Fall of 2011, I traveled to Jamaica with Dr. Noel Erskine a trained theologian who was raised in the Jamaican village in which the Rastafarian faith originated. We traveled from Ocho Rios to the remote Bobo Shanti in the hills of Bull Bay. Dr. Erskine is the author of the book From Garvey to Marley: Rastafari Theology.
Through this collection I seek to gain and to promote a deeper understanding of each of the distinct people who grace its pages and of the Rastafarian faith that, for some of them, is at the core of their understanding of themselves. My primary objective, though, is for the viewer to peer deeper into their own lives. This collection is as much about an examination of the self as it is about studying the faces of any of the individuals in these photos.
These are the faces of everyday folks just like you and me. These are folks who call the same place home as the legendary Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley and the contemporary track sensation Usain Bolt. These are folks, however, who are not singularly defined by icons of popular culture by a particular faith. They worship, sing, dance, work, make love, play, and express themselves in as many distinct ways as anywhere else in the world. They are certainly, however, shaped by the place they call home.
See the FACES OF JAMAICA Collection and order prints. Prints are discounted for the initial debut of the series through November 7.