OTHERNESS is an ongoing collaborative body of work between seventy nine year old actress, playwright and traditional storyteller Jean Small and thirty-three year old visual artist Olivia McGilchrist which attempts to deconstruct the physicality of post-colonial bodies through video and live performance.
Initially created in the Caribbean, this work can become relevant in the wider Diasporic context of the Americas.
Since 2013, Jean and Olivia have been working together, exploring the re-appropriation of the foreign other body through physical gesture and sound. The conflicted idea of an 'appeased' re-discovery of the foreign other body has been driving Jean and Olivia to collaborate.
Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre's 'Huis Clos'(No Exit) the performance embodies contested cultural narratives which are troubled and re-invented in real time by juxtaposing a series of short mimed; multi-layered clips, and original sound recordings by musicians M'Bala and Andre France (Jamaica).
This is a compilation of 30s clips from the four synchronised 12min videos that were created for this installation.
This work focuses on the Riva Mumma, or Rivermaid, a Jamaican incarnation of the more universal mermaid figure. By imbuing three women with attributes of this character, the work portrays evocative moments from the various Jamaican tales surrounding her; as a starting point for discussions on current gender and identity constructs in the local and regional arena.
exhibitions and screenings
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston ON, Canada, 2014
Transforming Spaces, Nassau, Bahamas, 2014
new roots: 10 Emerging Artists, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, 2013
In preparation for the 4 screen video installation native girl: chapter 1: Riva Mumma, I experimented with the three characters that I was working with, before focusing mainly on the Riva Mumma.
Many thanks to Adam Elemental for the use of this track: Sirens soundcloud.com/elemental
This began as I researched the visual representation of women in Jamaican art, and became more interested in the less official characters, who are still alive within popular Jamaican culture today: from the legendary and mythical characters, like Nanny of the Maroons to the mermaid-like Riva Mumma and the vampire, or witch dubbed Old Higue. By combining elements of the African and European imaginary found in these characters, with the interrupted narratives offered in multiple screen layers, and eventually in multi-screen installations, the work acts as a starting point for discussions on current gender and identity constructs in the local and regional arena.
This 10min video was originally created as part of a large multi-media installation for the Jamaican National Biennial in December 2012
my alter-ego 'Whitey' presents herself as a cultural object to a range of contemporary Jamaicans, exposing their varied reactions to this forced encounter.
This experimental video offers a double take on contemporary Jamaican life for a returning white female of part- Jamaican origin; with no living Jamaican relatives remaining, and very little information about my Jamaican heritage. Ernestine was my black great-grandmother, which I only discovered two years ago in a family photograph found at my late grandfather's house upon my return to the island.
appropriated Jamaican classics (and some), re-mixed by Andrew Unknownz, at Hands and Hearts studio, Kingston, Jamaica. All owners retain copyright to their respective works.
exhibitions and screenings
Rencontres Internationales, La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, France / Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, Germany
Metanoia: Practices of Exhaustion, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn
Face Value, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Canada, 2014
new media exhibition at the Trinidad & Tobago film festival, Medulla Gallery, Trinidad, 2013
National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, 2012