While my Jamaican lineage is fact, my relationship to the island and my ancestry has felt very distant at times. My physical body represents a continued familial story, but my personal connection sometimes feels tenuous. In my evolving body of work called “Version”, I confront these feelings of loss by exploring material permeability, unraveling, and negative space. Simultaneously, I anchor myself in my own Jamaican story by using motifs and materials that evoke strong sense memory – foods (sorrel/hibiscus blossom that I’ve used for painting and dying cloth, tamarind seeds left over from candies), traditional Jamaican madras fabric (its pattern referenced throughout), and the decorative ironwork swirls from my family’s home in Mandeville.
The collection title, “Version”, recalls the precursor name for Dub music; it is distinguished by the absence of the vocalist, leaving room for experimentation and evolution in that empty space, eventually becoming a new song of its own.
DANCING WITH FRIENDS
“Dancing with Friends” embraces the kinetic joy of parades - colorful streams of moving bodies celebrating themselves in community with others, claiming and proclaiming their identities and values. These large-scale banners feature silhouettes of me and my friends painted onto sheer cloths, intertwined, embroidered, beaded, and stitched together. They hang loosely in the space, moving on the currents of circulating viewers, inviting them to join the dance. Each banner is worked by hand pushing into the intimacy and tenderness that cloth allows, in contrast and/or conversation with the boldness of parade.
This series of handmade textile banners is inspired by the visual and emotional language of parades, exploring social and personal ideals and desires. By transforming signage meant for public display into cloth, I pull it into a context of intimacy and individual meaning. Then by hanging a sign in my home, I am speaking to myself about myself; both asserting and claiming my values, my ideals; shaping and being shaped by my own hope.
PEOPLE AND PLACES
These works are acts of personal reconstruction, altars to sweetness preservation, prayers for abundance and divine guidance. I often combine embroidered images of myself and loved ones; transcribed text from my journals; and recycled cloths, in arrangements drawn from traditional quilting motifs.
Textile assemblages are created from the leftovers of other projects. These scraps of works long-labored over with deep intention help me recalibrate to daily thoughts, feelings, gestures. They are small playgrounds where I experiment with color, material, technique, and composition. In reconstituting bits from eras of my life into new forms, I look at myself through different lenses and shape new interpretations of my choices, missteps, and pivots.
“Shuttle, In the weaving of cloth, a spindle-shaped device used to carry the crosswise threads (weft) through the lengthwise threads (warp).” - Encyclopaedia Britannica
We weave between the interior and exterior of the selves we construct, a volley of exposure and containment, evasion and revelation. So how about an opening + expansion + intertwining?
Alex Beaumont, a textile artist, and Lily Conforti, a dance artist, wove their mediums together to create this work. With the theme of transformation in mind, the artists start the evening from inside the frame. Out of sight of the viewers, the artist poke out only fingers, hands, and arms from between the cloth panels. Continuing on, the artists unfasten panels, revealing different colors and patterns on the back of the cloth. As the strict lines of the woven cloth box are slowly unraveled the dance movement expands and more of the body is revealed. The artists extend the cloth panels outward, around, above, transforming the closed frame space into more of an open shelter.