Kingston Biannual: Pressure

Apocalypse: Lifting of the Veil


I M(O)ther Threads of the Maternal Figure May 22 – October 2, 2022

May 22 – October 2, 2022

Curated By Rosie Gordon-Wallace

I M(O)ther is reference to a number of deliberately ambiguous maternal personalities that have been a part of Jamaican-based textile and fiber artist, Katrina Coombs’ understanding of her experience, desires, passions and role as a woman, and the relation of the maternal figure as an Other.

The twelve artworks in this exhibition invite us to enter a world of wonderfully constructed fiber forms, created over several years in response to a number of personal experiences, reflections and observations. Each piece in this exhibition makes a contribution to our collective appreciation of Coombs’ oeuvre, as well as of the range of visual possibilities that can be attained when working with natural and synthetic fibers.

Whilst fibers are central to all pieces, Coombs skillfully incorporates cowrie shells, amethyst stone, mirror and beads in select creations. These non-fiber elements are used to communicate conceptual ideas of identity, the maternal figure, wealth, ancestry and security. Coombs’ communicates her range of ideas in pieces that are intended to physically envelope the viewer in some instances, and in other instances keep the viewer at a distance. Her use of colors indicates a desire to strategically stimulate our perceptions by providing us with tints and tones of reds, yellows, oranges and cream.

Though majority of her works are autobiographical, the experiences of other women and non-biological maternal figures are also significant in the structure and thinking that underpin her works. Like the ambiguous personalities that inspire the pieces on show, the artworks do not make definitive statements. However, they make clear suggestions that are intended to inspire questions, emotions and commentary. It is perhaps best to appreciate each piece as both personal and communal reflections about maternal instincts, social expectations and emotional desires.

Visual and conceptual trajectories apart, it is also useful to consider the fact that this exhibition is the culmination of over a decade of committed practice and numerous exhibitions across the geographies of the Caribbean, North America and South America, inclusive of the critically acclaimed Inter|Sectionality: Diaspora Art from the Creole City, in 2019. Coombs’ work as a textile and fiber arts educator at the Edna Manley College of the visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica is also noteworthy, where she teaches a number of courses in weaving and textile design. Her commitment to ensuring that the practice of fiber art continues to develop in Jamaica and the Caribbean is evidenced by her work with the art initiative Blaqmango Consultants, which she co-founded, and the series of exhibitions she has started in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic 2021. The first exhibition in this series was called Fiberactive Germination and it gave a platform for fiber artists in Jamaica to present their work and generate conversations around how the practice has grown and the need for its recognition. The upcoming series will have a similar focus. Through these efforts, Katrina Coombs continues to challenge our creative horizons, while ensuring that emerging and established artists also have a platform to make a contribution to the creative discourses around textile and fiber art.

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C|Art 2022: Fibercape

Fiberscape is an exhibition of artworks by five of the finest contemporary practitioners of fiber and textile art in Jamaica. The show provides the audience with ten of the best examples of recent textile and fiber artwork that have been made using techniques such as weaving, coiling, batik, printing, embroidery and tapestry.

Together, the pieces provide an indication of the current technical, conceptual and formal concerns of artists whose creative expressions have consistently relied on the use of fabric, yarn, or threads as primary tools. The art directly and indirectly grapple with the politics and stereotypes of identity, culture and womanhood.

Fiberactive Germination

Like a plant that emerges from a buried and forgotten seed, this exhibition blossoms with multiple fiber-based creative projects, and reminds the audience of the varied roles that the buried seed of artistic creativity that we have in our society, flourishes even during this era of a pandemic. The works in the exhibition were produced by artists whose creative practices rely heavily on the use of fibers, threads and textiles as primary visual and creative tools. Their art directly and indirectly grapple with the politics of identity, culture and womanhood. The artists use their work to continue to comment on our relationship with each other as well as to the environment. Collectively, they challenge social, cultural, and gendered stereotypes.

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Our Constellations: astral embraces and tactual consciousness at Emerson Dorsch

“our constellations: astral embraces and tactual consciousness” is a group exhibition curated by Terri C Smith that features selected alumni from Miami’s Fountainhead Residency. This is the first in a biennial series of curated exhibitions at Emerson Dorsch Gallery that include selected Fountainhead alumni. The exhibition will be on view August 7 to September 11, 2021.

“This new exhibition series recognizes the vital role that the Fountainhead Residency plays in Miami’s art scene,” explains gallerist Tyler Emerson-Dorsch, “In addition to providing formative residencies for many Miami artists, they have introduced our city to artists from all over the world. In the process of hosting and mentoring over 430 artists from 47 countries, the residency has greatly enriched Miami’s art discourse, in an innovative and entrepreneurial way that channels the city’s greatest qualities, like hustle, generosity, multiculturalism, and a thirst for building new relationships.” Read more here

Apocalypse: Lifting of the Veil

Apocalypse: Lifting of the Veil is a multi-faceted sculpture performance aimed at bringing a voice to women’s experiences due to the loss of a child, whether through miscarriage, abortion, or still birth. The grief associated with this trauma often consumes a woman’s mental and psychological state. It creates a silent, desperate and often destructive energy. This project presents five components of this traumatic phenomenon: the source, the internal Other, the external Other, the audience, and the voices of loss.

You can learn more about this project here Lifting of the Veil.

To share your story with loss and become apart of this project you can visit Voices of Loss to submit your experience.

Your story is your truth, and sharing your story imbues it with power that results in healing, joy and new beginnings individually and collectively.

“and I resumed the struggle”

“As artists we are aware that our profession has survived chaotic and unprecedented moments in history and it has become ever more important to present the issues we have gleaned from it.

We invite viewers to look to this exhibition not only as mere presentation of our various concerns but also simply for the fact that we carried on, the work was done.

The title ‘…and I resumed the struggle.’, which is a quote from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, is a poignant one in this regard. Locked within this notion of carrying on is the sort of will, determination and character that will be needed to see ourselves through.“

See e-catalogue here

Catapult Lockdown Virtual Salon

The CATAPULT Lockdown Virtual Salon programme aims to mitigate isolation, especially heightened during the current pandemic, by creating virtual platforms for cultural practitioners to engage in discourse about and explore their evolving practices. These one-hour artist talks from their homes or studios will be live-streamed via the Fresh Milk YouTube channel at 1PM and 4PM AST, every Tuesday and Friday between September 29th & November 20th, 2020.

Each cultural practitioner will be paired with a co-discussant for an open conversation about their work. A live audience will be able to comment and ask questions during the event, which will be open to the public with a focus on reaching a wide cross-section of the English, Spanish, French and Dutch speaking Caribbean arts community, as well as those civil society organisations who are working in the target areas of culture, gender, LGBTQIA+, human rights and climate justice.

Visit Fresh Milk for more

You can watch the salon below