New Roots: The Girl and the Magpie

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Biography

The artist behind The Girl and the Magpie was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa). She obtained a Masters Degree in Archeology and History of Art in Belgium (1996). She began to make jewellery in Burkina Faso (2005) where she mastered the lost-wax casting technique, an ancestral method for casting bronze. While traveling regularly between Europe and Africa, she continued her goldsmith and contemporary jewellery training at the Technical School for Arts and Crafts in Brussels, Belgium (2005-2011).  She has been living and working in Jamaica for the last two years. She has exhibited in Belgium, Burkina Faso and in Jamaica, where she has collaborated with Jackie Cohen to produce accessories for her Mutamba clothing line for 2012 Caribbean Fashion Week. Fragile Jamaica is a (fragile) collection inviting reflections on the fragility of Jamaica’s ecological balance. Love for Jamaica’s beauty is not enough, on all levels more actions are needed to encourage its preservation: from daily personal actions, over community projects, to political decisions.

Artist’s Statement

Wherever I’m working (be it Burkina Faso, Belgium, or Jamaica) I try to incorporate local materials and techniques. Similarly, my inspiration is always defined by my surroundings, leading to forms and shapes which are very organic. The recent collections I designed in Jamaica are inspired by Jamaican nature (the Fragile Jamaica collection), by the Jamaican night sky (the Planets collection), and by Jamaica’s history of slavery (the Modern Slavery line within the Electric Jamaica collection).

The pieces that are presented at the current New Roots exhibition belong to the Fragile Jamaica collection. They are made out of natural elements collected all over the island. These natural elements are highlighted using gold paper, and assembled by connecting elements made out of brass.  It is my humble way of putting the beauty of Jamaica’s nature into the spotlight, and to apply what I learned from many Jamaicans: to marvel every day at the beauty surrounding us.

Fragile Jamaica is a (fragile) collection inviting reflections on the fragility of Jamaica’s ecological balance. Love for Jamaica’s beauty is not enough, on all levels more actions are needed to encourage its preservation: from daily personal actions, over community projects, to political decisions.

Curator’s Statement

The purpose of controlled hybridization is often to produce an entity with desirable characteristics of the original elements. The jewellery pieces in the series known as Fragile Jamaica are themselves hybrids of naturally occurring ephemera and metals but their role is not limited to mere aesthetic satisfaction. The artist known as The Girl and the Magpie is using the inherent appreciation and value associated with such precious objects like necklaces to make us reflect on the environment but also to make us question the way our value systems are configured.

Our societies are predicated on the acquisition of material wealth often with a short-sighted view on the impact that some of our endeavors will have on the delicately balanced ecosystem that sustains us. This body of work brings this global consideration to Jamaica encouraging us to make it a more of a priority and not a sideline issue in the middle of our never-ending quest to catch up with more developed countries.

O’Neil Lawrence

You can read more about The Girl and the Magpie at: http://www.thegirlandthemagpie.be/

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6 thoughts on “New Roots: The Girl and the Magpie

  1. Pingback: New Roots: Introduction | National Gallery of Jamaica Blog

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