Laird Street Apostles (2020)
In this work, I am interested in exploring portraiture using place, memory and history as my primary means of storytelling. ‘Laird Street Apostles’ are portraits of my maternal male cousins. Merging abstraction and figuration, each canvas portrays a fictional narrative that is based on the specific interest of the cousin being portrayed. Each canvas depicts landscapes, seascapes and treacherous spaces that I imagine. This work draws from a myriad of references ranging from but not limited to identity, religion, mythology, art history and popular culture.
The title of the exhibition, ‘Laird Street Apostles’ borrows from the name of the street in Nassau Bahamas where my cousins and I were raised and where they all continue to reside today. The term ‘Laird Street’ within my immediate family, refers to a sole space –– my grandmother’s house. A guilt that arose from having left and not returned to that space pilots lots of the decision making in this work.
Memory, nostalgia, history and a genuine interest in storytelling further inform this body of work. I create an “elsewhere” that fictionally occurs on the property and inside the house at Laird Street. These imagined spaces I once lived, either physically or in the state of dreaming. I re-interpret each setting from my imagination and place each subject within a scenario most related to its interest and character.
My subjects all wear bright yellow patrol/police sashes and are accompanied by vicious, diseased and fantastical K-9s. My intention with the coupling of the sashes and the K-9s is to point to notions of security and protection (a constant awareness that is mandatorily exercised in the Bahamas). Such notions of protection also reference various structures within society such as Militias, Tribes, Brotherhoods, Fraternities, Armies, Political Parties and Gangs just to name a few.
Direct reference to religion, in particular, Christianity is constant in this work. Colors such as gold, white and transparencies (ghosts), along with renderings of Christian crosses appear frequently. Besides referencing my Christian upbringing, I am interested in reinterpreting and critiquing such institutions and the structure of its teachings. The titles are all borrowed from or reference bible teachings. The Christian iconography is confronted by themes of survival, security and vigilance.