Cultural development programme
Mini museum for two people
Can’t be greedy… You gotta take some, and leave someJames Brown
Ebony G. Patterson, Of 72, 2012
Digital prints on hand-decorated bandanas
53 × 53 cm, 72 pieces
With thanks to Monique Meloche Gallery.
The multimedia installations of Ebony G. Patterson (JM, 1981) have a seductive beauty aimed to ensnare spectators in their observations: physically, psychologically and emotionally. Looking beyond the visually stunning colour palettes and sparkling materials, you discover the works are in fact monuments, often referring to specific events, demanding our recognition of the historical injustice of the colonial system.
The video installation …Three Kings Weep… shows three black men who appear to slowly dress themselves. A young male voice recites the poem If We Must Die from 1919 by the Jamaican poet Claude McKay. As the words sound, ‘If we must die – oh, let us nobly die,’ the men are afforded their identity through their clothing, and elevate their social status and claim dignity as they ‘crown’ themselves. However, the film is played backwards, raising the question as to whether these men indeed find their identity or lose it. Any answer to this remains dependent on the historical perspective with which this metaphor is perceived.
Of 72 consists of an installation of 73 hand-decorated bandanas with portraits of 72 men and one woman. It is a monument to the 2010 Kingston Unrest: an arrest attempt (encouraged by the United States) of the Jamaican drug lord, Christopher Coke, which resulted in a violent confrontation between police and gangsters with a disproportionate number of civilian casualties.
Guillaume: ‘This has everything to do with empowerment – the black body in a positive light. What’s our image of a king? In Africa, in Europe, in the past and now? These are the kings of this day and age.’