Wayne Modest, Ninety-Six Degrees in the Shade: Colouring in Absent Images
In this presentation I explore the ways in which contemporary Jamaican artists re-imagine belonging to the nation and its history, contending with the structuring force of the slavery and the colonial past in present-day Jamaica. The paper is based on a series of interviews conducted with 19 artists of different ethnic, gendered, and sexual subjectivities. These interviews were done as part of a curatorial project to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 2007. This project emerged out of the question: given that photography was announced a short six months after the official abolition of slavery in the British Empire, how has this impacted our ability to image and imagine slavery? In addition to the work of contemporary artists I will engage with other creative practices such as popular music, in which slavery and anti-colonial struggle still play a key role in relation to national and ethnoracial belonging. This presentation is a preliminary attempt to sketch out how artists have attempted to imagine the difficult past in Jamaica and my own role in this as a curator. Some images, sounds or other media used in the following presentation are subject to copyright restrictions that prevent them being shown. In order to provide a complete record of the conference, these items have been blurred or silenced. Should we obtain permission to use these images, sounds and other media in the future the films will be updated.