The exhibition explores the duality of the artist’s heritage as both a Canadian and a Trinidadian, and the constructed identities found therein. These large scale paintings become an amalgamation of disparate parts–detritus accumulated by various means. Fabric, papercollage, gel medium, and found objects are mounted on unstretched canvas as Ferreira sifts through imagery to arrive at a constructed whole.
Pliable, performative, unfurled and pinned to the wall much like grommeted paintings on un-stretched canvas, memories are unfixed things. They change shape, they get tired, they get stretched out, like thoughts of home and projections of paradise memories too become new things–––whether we’ve asked them to or not. Kareem-Anthony Ferreira’s paintings Assembling Origins are representations of people in places: as they were, as they could be and for all we know, how they are right this instant.
With imagery sourced from memory, family photographs and images taken by the artist, the paintings are negotiations deeply embedded in the spirit of migration. From the artist’s home in Hamilton, Ontario to his family’s native Trinidad and Tobago to even his current studio in Tucson, Arizona, just like the floorboards of any domestic space the paintings presented are sites covered in gatherings, patterns, coming and goings, secrets and conversations.
Like everything formerly-European and currently (mostly) brown-occupied, the surface is a deceptive truth. To be more concise: there is always an underneath. By incorporating screen-printing, and collaging patterned fabrics atop found and collected paper using gel medium and fixative and ultimately acrylic and wax crayon, each painting on view is an exploration. Greater still, each work is a potential metaphor for the Western Hemisphere Post-Colonial Experiment: people living among and atop arrays of visual material––some left behind (lovingly/absently/maliciously/all of the above) from the people who came before them (voluntarily or otherwise).
Exploring, disrupting and acknowledging mythologies of Caribbean leisure and its inaccuracies the paintings (some literally) are witnesses to journeys. The paintings are geographical, ancestral and residential links–– tendons to places physically inhabited (for instance the artist’s former studio in Port-of-Spain) or critically imagined (the tropical-pastoral-holiday-‘Ya Mon’-scape in the non-Caribbean Resorting imagination).
Returning to geography, on a world map: Tobago is a miniature backslash (bloated), Trinidad a hovering stocking caught in the gravity of a Venezuelan coastline, Ontario either a dead fish or cartoon ham,Arizona, a misshapen unchecked box on a questionnaire and now Manhattan, a reptile’s tongue caught drying somewhere in a dead zone between this world and the next. One could argue the exhibition comes from this too–– the artist and all of these occupied shapes, a carnival of smiling, working, thriving, sleeping, living and being faces set upon (and temporarily fixed) un-stretched canvases before him.