Earlier this year the Editor of Caribbean Beat, a regional art & travel magazine, contacted me about being featured in a section called Own Words. I have a growing collection of Caribbean Beat (yes, you can take them from the airplane) because they have engaging articles about Caribbean art & culture that I rarely find elsewhere. I appreciate the high-quality work that they produce, so without hesitation I replied and the interview with writer and curator, Nicole Smythe-Johnson, was scheduled. Here is an excerpt from the feature published in the current issue of Caribbean Beat (March/April 2015):
Movement is intergenerational in my family. I was raised between Grenada and the United States, living in each for a few years at a time, depending on my parent's studies or my own. My mother, a Jamaican born in Brooklyn, met my father when they worked together at the Ministry of Mobilisation during the Grenada Revolution. As a teenager, she moved to Grenada with her family because of the milestone in global radical politics that the revolution represented.
If I give in to my romantic side, I would say that the context within which my parents fell in love is the reason social justice is at the foundation of all my work. The realities of inequality, trauma, and violence are never far from my mind — but neither is our incredible potential for love and revolution.
I remember the thought process that led me to embrace calling myself an artist. It was the moment I realised that art is a form of research for me, of processing and communicating my perspectives. As an undergraduate at Smith College [in Massachussetts], majoring in anthropology with a focus on visual culture, this realisation gave me permission to lean into my artistic practice. So much so that I eventually switched my major to studio art.
Artistic production, like research, is always about perspective. This begins from the moment we choose the initial question. Creating art is a process of inquiry for me, an avenue to pursue questions about the ways the political affects the personal. Within a global context of compliance, questioning is critical. Inquiry unearths a rich pool of knowledge, submerged below the flashing lights and gloss of mainstream culture.
As a multidisciplinary artist, I build on concept. I select the medium that I think best expresses my perspectives in that moment. I produce video, photography, new media, performance, and installation pieces that take an intimate approach to examining the encounter between self and society. I’m drawn to the visceral ways that we process our lives.
This preoccupation with bodily, emotional experience is rooted in my yoga practice. Through my work as a yoga teacher, I see how we harbour memory in the fibres of our bodies. This interest in memory carries through to my postgraduate research, which focused on cultural memory and the Grenada Revolution. Memory is also a major part of May Nothing Stay Hidden, my project for my recent residency in Jamaica at [the contemporary art space] NLS. It began when my grandfather shared one of his earliest memories with me.