Young Talent V: Megan McKain

Megan McKain - Undulating Blue (2009)

Part of the thrust of Young Talent V is to challenge the remarkably disciplinary boundaries between the conventional fine and applied arts. The exhibition, among other things, pays special attention to fashion design, fashion photography, jewellery and body adornment. Megan McKain is a young Jamaican jeweller  who deliberately challenges these boundaries in her artistic practice. Her work is curated by Veerle Poupeye.

Megan A. McKain was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1985. Her affinity for art was fostered at an early age and this ultimately led to her enrollment at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where she attained a diploma in Jewellery. Whilst studying, she launched her self-titled line of handmade jewellery – Megan Allison. The brand has garnered local publicity and most recently was represented internationally at Atlantic Fashion Week 2009 (AFW 09) in Nova Scotia Canada.

Megan McKain, Rustic Beauty (2009)

It was also during her studies at the Edna Manley College that Megan became intrigued by weaving, which was incorporated into her final year show of woven adornments bearing West African and Egyptian influences. This interest in weaving continually grew and so, upon graduating, she applied and was selected by Culturesfrance (an arm of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to participate in the Visas Pour La Creation 2009 programme as an artist-in-residence at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD U) in Nova Scotia, Canada. There, she further explored weaving and its possibilities for future work. Towards the end of the residency she mounted her first solo exhibition entitled, Intertwined, which featured a collection of intricately woven wrist cuffs, again showing a West African influences.

Megan McKain, Regal Synthesis Editions I & II (2008)

Another memorable aspect of the artist’s time in Nova Scotia was meeting North American acclaimed artist, Dawn Macnutt. Macnutt’s lifesize woven sculptures and willow works resonated with Mckain as a source of inspiration. Having returned home, Megan is filtering all the stimuli gained from her time spent in Canada. Her most current body of work to be featured in the Young Talent V exhibition has taken on a new direction for the artist who is beginning to convey things of deeper, personal meaning unlike her previous works, which, for the most part, were “technique-based”.  She admits that it is a challenge but one she hopes will aid in bringing a sort of therapeutic healing and wholeness to her life.

Megan McKain - Pack Light with Petals, from the A Bag Ache Series (2010), copper

Curator’s Statement

Megan McKain graduated in 2008 from the Edna Manley College with a small but exceptional, visually stunning body of work, that took its inspiration from traditional African jewellery and textiles but translated these sources into a contemporary aesthetic which integrated jewellery, weaving and sculpture. Her two main pieces were a collar and apron, woven from copper and brightly coloured fabric. This selection for Megan McKain tracks her development since then, through a group of arm cuffs that were produced while she was on a studio residency in Canada and further developed her interest in blending metal craft and weaving. While the cuffs were still wearable, at least in theory, they took on more independent sculptural qualities, independent from their relation to the human body. Her most recent production, a group of delicate, ethereal looking bags crafted from the same materials, move beyond the wearable and the functional and ponder the metaphoric potential of the word baggage.

– Veerle Poupeye

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