Invisible Presence: Bling Memories

Invisible Presence: Bling Memories

February 17, 2016 – April 21, 2016

On April 27, 2014, Ebony G. Patterson staged Invisible Presence: Bling Memories during Jamaica’s Carnival. This participatory performance intervention sought to interrupt the space of the visible with that of the invisible. In Jamaica, socio-economic divides are apparent in the island’s Carnival, where middle and upper class residents frolic in the streets. Using the space of the Carnival as a platform and the bling funeral as a gesture, Invisible Presence: Bling Memories inserted and asserted a moment of presence for those who may not otherwise have agency to do so themselves. Bling funerals are a growing popular practice in Kingston’s working class communities; proclaiming one of the most powerful declarations of individuality: You may not have noticed me when I was alive, but you will damn well see me as I Ieave. Invisible Presence: Bling Memories was commissioned for the exhibition En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean co-curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson.

In her work, the Jamaica-born mixed-media artist Ebony G. Patterson recontextualizes gender norms and explores Jamaican dancehall culture. She creates highly entrancing, colorful pieces. Patterson represents the transformations of gender and body politics by blending tapestry, beading, sequins, crochet, and Internet-sourced images of violent murders. The resulting pieces seduce the viewer with mesmerizing, striking textures. “I’m hoping … to pull the viewer in to see further and raise questions about how we engage in the act of looking,” she has said. Patterson’s work thus elicits a civic awareness that raises the stakes for popular culture as a whole.


Ebony G. Patterson

Ebony  G.  Patterson  (b. 1981, Kingston, Jamaica) is the  recipient  of  many  prestigious  fellowships, awards and grants, including the Aaron Matalon Award at the 2014 Jamaica Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, William H. Johnson Prize finalist (2013), a Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica (2012), Small  Axe  Magazine  and  Andy  Warhol  Commissioned  Grant  (2012),  and  Rex  Nettleford  Fellowship  in Cultural  Studies  (2011).  Her work was recently featured at Prospect.3:  Notes  for  Now, curated  by Franklin Sirmans, New Orleans, LA and the Jamaica Biennial 2014, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston.  Current solo shows include Dead Treez at the Kohler Arts  Center,  Sheybogan,  WI  (through  Sept  2015) and LUX Art Institute, Encinitas, CA (April - May 2015). Upcoming exhibitions include En Mas’: Carnival 21st Century Style, The Caribbean as Site Specific Performance, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA  (March - June  2015  will  travel);  12th Havana  Biennial,  Cuba  (May - June  2015); Disguise:  Masks  and Global   African   Art, Seattle   Art   Museum,   Seattle,   WA   (June - Sept   2015);   and   solo   show   at moniquemeloche, Chicago (Sept 2015).


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