Irons was dressed as what I felt was a kind of shaman or mystic man in the manner reminiscent of Kapo or Joseph Beuys. Irons set up the space using drawings on the wall of the rustic ex-furniture factory, chicken pan grills, chicken carcasses, welded iron and programmes from his grandmothers funeral among other bits. The morning of the exhibition something like 13 chickens Irons raises himself, were led into the space and presented with a bakery style cake. The cake was of some age as I remember it from his work in the JCDC Festival. The chickens seemed to sense something in their present future as they all herded together and sat nestled and still until the performance. I left after that but I have heard many interpretations and explanations of the performance. If you were there and wish to describe your experience please post a comment.
The piece follows on another performance with the sacrifice of chickens done in Trinidad. To see a video of this performance on YouTube please visit this link:http://youtube.com/watch?v=u-zO9w91myc
I have to ask these questions however, if performance art happens abroad, should it happen here. Is it hypocrisy or censorship to allow some kinds of performance and not others? Does the killing of animals go over in Jamaica as art? Is there difficulty in absorbing a work that speaks about ritual without being reverent?
On the other hand I want to mention Khepera Oluyia Hatsheptwa’s work now on show at Mutual Gallery, which interestingly reminded me a lot of Christopher Irons’ work. The work is an installation in the middle of the gallery called ‘AmenRa’ and though evoking the human presence and culture of ritual and ceremony from our heritage uses objects. What do you think of the two works compared side by side as addressing ritual and ceremony?
Over at the National Gallery shortly after was one of the best openings I have been to in a while. The performances from Amina Blackwood-Meeks, Jesse Ripole Dancers and the Rasta Nation were really engaging.
The show had a large enough crowd and showed diversity of work from Renee Cox’s re-interpreted Last Supper to Marvin Bartley’s digital imagery to Charles Campbell’s really poetic paintings and Christopher Clare’s images. It is a very pleasing show which is almost overwhelming in its offerings and hope that you take the opportunity to experience it.
Keith Morrison, curator of the upcoming Curator’s Eye III at the National Gallery, today announced his exhibition theme. Coincidentally or not so much, it is ‘Ceremony, Ritual, Celebration ’. He invites all interested arts practitioners to think about and submit proposals for work to him in January when he next visits the island. Collaboration and cross-disciplinary work is encouraged. The idea is that the show has performance, multimedia, sculpture, paintings etc. that is ongoing and occurring at different times in during the exhibition. It is a very exciting time for art and artists so remember no to miss out.