Exhibition: Jamaican Pulse


This exhibition at the RWA (Royal West of England Academy) in Bristol is the first major exhibition of Jamaican visual art to ever travel outside of its home country.  The exhibition contains both contemporary and historic works, displayed alongside one and other, in order to highlight the links between the past and the present.

Personally, I thought that the exhibition was fascinating.  It presents an account of a small nation finding its place on the global stage.  Many of the pieces in the exhibition address issues of identity, whether political or sexual, or anything else in between.  For me, it was this theme, and the way in which it was presented again and again, that gave the exhibition its humanity.  It allowed the viewer to contact with the works on a personal level, since identity is something that everyone thinks about in some form or another.

One of my favourite pieces, Anthropocene by Andrea Chung, was an immersive installation set up in a darkened room, where the walls had been covered with cyanotype prints of Lionfish.  Lionfish are an invasive species in Jamaica, responsible for a dramatic decline in native marine species.  The installation is supposed to make the viewer feel as if they have been engulfed by the sea.  It is a powerful metaphor for colonisation.

In terms of how I may be able to relate this exhibition to my own work, I think it reminds me that some issues (e.g., identity) are universal, and consequently, that they have the power to move and inspire others.