Blue Alpha Exhibition: Jacqueline Bishop

Jacqueline Bishop

At its core my work addresses the issues of home, ancestry, family, connectivity and belonging. As someone who has lived longer outside of my birthplace of Jamaica, than I have lived on the island, I am acutely aware of what it means to be simultaneously an insider and an outsider. This ability to see things from multiple psychological and territorial spaces has led to the development of a particular lens that allows me to view things from a distance. In addition, because I am a fiction writer and poet as well as a visual artist the text and narrative are significant parts of my artistic practice. My work integrates the mediums of painting, drawing and photography.

I use a process of photomontage to recreate the past in an ongoing series of ethereal and transcendent “Childhood Memories” photographs where characters are often literally split between heaven and earth. For me, the world is a series of superimposed images and in the Childhood Memories series I am making montages of a childhood partly remembered and wholly constructed. I use archival footage that I collage with images that I take on my trips back to Jamaica. These photographs introduce us to a world of family, belonging and connection. In a sense these photographs represent a lost garden of Eden.

My most recent work is the “Babylon” and “Zion” series of paintings. These paintings are about the Rastafarian ideas of Babylon being a place of captivity and oppression while Zion symbolizes a utopian place of unity and peace. In the Babylon paintings I use lyrics from songs and poems to create text-based paintings on the notion of exile leading up to the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” paintings in which I use popular dancehall posters to recreate the inner city Babylonian “walls” of Kingston. For the Zion series I employ largely monotone paintings to recreate this symbolic paradise. I use a distinctly Rastafarian iconography by employing Rastafarian colors in these paintings. Glitter is present in these works not only as a representation of the paradise that Rastafarians seek in the Biblical homeland of Zion but also as a commentary on the bling and glitter culture that has enveloped much of Jamaican society.


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