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From Human Trafficking to Partying - SVA Final Year Exhibition
The School of Visual Arts at the Edna Manley College is currently showcasing its final year exhibition with students from graphic design, illustration, painting, jewelry. The exhibition presents a peek into the minds of the next generation of artists. The installations varied from the mundane to the intriguing and quite a few steps in between.
Among the installations was Lychelle McFarlane’s striking piece on human trafficking which is being showcased in the Cage Gallery. The installation employs barrels, packing crates and boxes with disembodied charcoal images drawn on the outside and often dangling from the ceiling. It effectively creates the stark analogy between trafficked human beings and commodities, highlighting the commercial intent behind the gruesome act. McFarlane's installation brings much needed attention to the issue of human trafficking in Jamaica.
Budding ceramicist and photographer Marie Gooden chose to explore the female form through her ceramic sculpture. She noted that it was important to her to not merely produce functional pieces of art, but rather to explore meaning through her work. Gooden explained that the pieces represent fragility and the search for selfhood, which she describes as an important part of a young woman’s life, especially when she is a student. “You feel insufficient. You feel insecure. You want to make something of yourself,” she said.
Ottoa Wilson took the unusual path of featuring John Crows, but not merely to use them as a metaphor for death and decay. The BFA in painting student selected a mixed media collage as her exhibition piece. The installation depicted the the vultures superimposed on heraldic emblems including currency and the coat of arms. Wilson explained that she sought ot used the negative connotation of the vulture as well as bring awareness to the fact that they are endangered. “I sought to explore the vulture by using a variety of material to uplift the birds,” she said.
Other striking pieces in the exhibition included the installations of Leo Rhule and Troydell Wallace. Rhule’s installation was an imaginative piece which involved both painting and digital graphics in a homage to creativity. Wallace used his illustration skills to explore issues of skin colour in a witty design involving grey-skinned yellow-eyed characters.
Of course, not all the students delved into society’s deeper issues. Kadine Chin, a BFA student in Visual Communication, majoring in illustration chose mixed media engraving and used her installation to showcase her entertainment brand Nu Behavia. Chin whose display was accessorized by skimpily clad young women explained that Nu Behaviour was designed to bring that extra “humph” to an event, although they did not engage in event planning themselves. Unperturbed by sexist backlash, Chin explained that her brand proffered the “adorment, magnetism and acrobatics” to which men are attracted in women.