A Time When (2019-2020)
This body of work explores themes of: nostalgia, time, grief, religion, and life after death, as well as fear and anger. There are also strong autobiographical elements throughout the work that serve as subtle homages to my deceased parents.
In ‘WWJD, 2020’ a portrayal of an elegant ghostly figure dress in captains uniform overlook a battle between two “redbones” and a venom spitting snake. On the horizon is a parasail connected to a feather in the night sky, metaphorically paying reverence to my deceased father, who was a boat captain and parasail instructor.
Throughout the series, the notion of time is addressed in indirect yet peculiar ways. In ‘WWJD, 2020’ a reclining figure lays unconscious. In his hand, is a lit blunt. A snake guards and defends his body. Is he dead? How long was he there? In this case, the lit blunt is used to address time. This is one of many examples of the unique addressing of time that can be found throughout this body of work.
Nostalgic and autobiographical references – ranging from my childhood, family, and my relationship to the environment of my upbringing serve as key references. These elements work simultaneously to address questions and concerns regarding specifics of my upbringing. For instance, growing up in the Bahamas, it is standard that ALL students wear school uniforms in order to distinguish themselves from other schools. My concern with this European influenced practice is while teaching uniformity (not being individual), it also reinforcing institutional conformity and servitude. In using the uniform as a reference, I critiquing several things – namely Colonial undertones and current societal beliefs behind ideas of being uniformed, early training geared to work under institutions and corporations that hinder self-empowerment through entrepreneurship and systems of oppression whereby groups are made to be uniformed (armies, prisons etc.) I am also intrigued with social tier and hierarchy as it relates to being uniformed.
In “Security 2020” and “The Last Boy 2020”, the uniform is addressed in relation to surveillance ¬– in particular, that of watchmen/security guards. Portrayed are two adolescent boys with juvenile attack dogs both watching and being watched. Both boys are littered with infer-red dots pointing to the number of humans with guns about to oppose them. The figure in ‘Security 2020’ soils his pants in fear. There is satire and irony in the species and age of dog being used as guardians to the guards.
Reference to religion often appear, as it played an important role in my upbringing. Saturdays were spent at the churches choir practice, Sundays in Sunday School followed by Children’s Church, Wednesdays in School Chapel, Summers at Vacation Bible School and attended a Christian High School. I question and make stealthy comments about society and his religious upbringing, through coupling religious iconography such as crucifixes, holy oil, antique funerary fans, and doves working in tandem with images of natural disasters, violence, abuse, death and grief.
Upon a closer look, narratives that might allude to dark subjects such as my mother’s funeral precession ‘1992’, witnessing of natural disasters in ‘It Rained..’ and school yard brawls ‘Brothers Keepers’ whereby, the narrative flow can be hard to pin point and discern upon first glance. The work thrives on conveying challenging ideas that oftentimes be to critique and address the commonplace dramas of life.
Last but not least, current affairs such as biological warfare, Cannabis legislation, animal rights, violence and child abuse are all addressed in these works.