After the official induction to the ceramic studio at the Chelsea College of Arts, the doors were opened to begin investigation into a concept still in its embryonic phase, as I examine the South American history of sugar cane planters in Guyana between the 1970 s – 2000.
The Caribbean sugar industry’s link to the United Kingdom has become an idée fixe after I discovered the connection between the company Bookers and Tate, and the role they played in the development of the sugar industry in the Region. The industry was built on harsh labor yet many in the region associate strain and physical and mental exhaustion with carnival festivals after a production. Festivals such as Crop Over (Barbados) and Mashramani (a Guyanese Amerindian word for celebration after hard work) are associated with the early beginnings on the sugar cane plantations during slavery.
While developing a story board of charcoal sketches, I realized my search for a clear concept has revealed a personal inquiry into my art practice and the direction it takes. There seems to be hesitancy in every line drawn as I make visuals of men in the field, with expressions of distress through shading and tonality. My intention is to deconstruct and interplay pieces together, without giving way to too much information so as to allow viewers the opportunity to become an active participant in the narrative. I am also curious as to how sensitive fragments of Caribbean history affect modern sensibility when it is inserted into Western/European spaces.
To measure the distance of of last week’s productivity with the seemingly end result of a 3 D clay form, I called the Hard Working Beggar, would be understated. I am still in the experimental phase as I aim to solidify my concept.