Matthew McCarthy is a Jamaica-based illustrator and mural painter who has spent the last five years finding a way to combine his obsession with Jamaican street signs, old school dancehall illustrations and global street art movements. His style and overall message have been influenced by local and global happenings, which fuel his enormous need to formulate satire around interesting topics.
Hear oh heavens and give me ear. I have nourished and reared these indigo children and they have rebelled against me.
Since Matthew McCarthy invaded the streets of Kingston with his New Jamaica project earlier this year, the young artist has been the focus of much attention from the art world and beyond. His work has been seen in music videos, on the Jamaica Observer‘s Page 2 (oh the irony), and most recently in his much-acclaimed final year show at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. McCarthy is one of few artists who engage the world outside the gallery and he is invested in art that is made for and speaks from the street. With influences like Dawn Scott’s A Cultural Object (1985) installation at the National Gallery of Jamaica; the Jersey collective (Steve Powers, Barry McGee etc) and politically engaged street art the world-over, his work has the edge of rebellion we generally associate with the dancehall, and a distinctly youthful exasperation with the systems that structure our social reality. For this exhibition, we invited him to respond to the space of the art gallery, producing a site-specific work intended to speak to the gallery as institution and the art world as cultural space, from within its very belly.