It is the first chapter in a four-part ode by the artist to the life and work of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican national hero, and political activist who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1914. Garvey, like Barrington, was born in the Caribbean and went on to live, work and forge important ties to the United States and England.
The similarities in their migratory paths, the ways in which both men’s lives correlate and what Barrington learns from Garvey, form the basis of the artist’s conceptual inquiry. Leaping from territory to territory and the attendant “mark-making” of these island citizens—in Garvey’s case a political and philosophical legacy and for Barrington, his familial and professional trajectory— is the baseline of a melody or tempo that Barrington portrays.
Garvey’s narrative is comprised of a series of actions similar to routes taken, the consequences of which, like a grid of intersections, overlap with and influence the lives and decisions of others. The Black nationalist’s formation of the UNIA, Negro World newspaper and Black Star Line, for example, influenced Malcom X’s mother, Louise Little, a Grenadian by birth, who was part of Garvey’s UNIA in Montreal and who imparted the teachings of Black pride and self-sufficiency to her son. This is a microcosm of what Barrington calls “exchanges of culture,” in which the customs of different cultures align, intertwine and adapt continuously.