Born in Barbados, Joscelyn Gardner works both in the Caribbean and in Canada, where she is Professor of Art at Fanshawe College. She has held solo exhibitions in the USA, Canada, Spain, and throughout the Caribbean and has participated in numerous international biennials, exhibiting both prints and multimedia installations. Her work has also appeared in curated group exhibitions at museums in the USA, France, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Spain, India, China, Barbados, and the Netherlands, and is in public collections in the USA, Europe, and the Caribbean. In 2013 she received the Grand Prize at the 7th International Contemporary Printmaking Biennial in Trois Rivières, Quebec. She holds an MFA from Western University, and a BFA (in printmaking) and a BA (in film) from Queen’s University.
About the Work
Joscelyn Gardner is represented by two full series of lithographs – Plantation Poker (2004)and Creole Portraits II (2007)—and a selection of lithographs from the Creole Portraits III (2009- 2011) series – which are exhibited as installations that also include other elements. In these prints, which conform to the conventions of natural history illustrations, intricate African braided hairstyles morph into the instruments of torture that were used during slavery. A more specific reference to sexual abuse is added in the imagery in Plantation Poker, where the triangular shape of the hair references female pubic hair. The lovely flowers in Creole Portraits III are plants that were used by enslaved women to secretly end unwanted pregnancies. While deceptively delicate and exquisitely beautiful, the prints powerfully invoke the dehumanizing cruelty of plantation slavery. Gardner’s body of work is inspired by the infamous diaries of Thomas Thistlewood, a plantation overseer in Jamaica in the mid-18th century, who recorded with scientific precision his many forced sexual exploits and the cruel punishments he inflicted on the enslaved.
Joscelyn Gardner website: www.joscelyngardner.com