Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists – Miriam Hinds-Smith

Miriam Hinds-Smith - Thought We Mattered (2015), (Photo: Andrew P. Smith)

Miriam Hinds-Smith – Thought We Mattered (2015), (Photo: Andrew P. Smith)

Here is another post based on the exhibition text panels for Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists, which will be on view from May 31 to August 8, 2015


Born in Jamaica in 1969, Miriam Smith received her education at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she attained a Diploma in Textiles. In 1999 she received her MFA degree from the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK. She lives and works in St Andrew, Jamaica.

About the Work

The mixed media artwork of Miriam Hinds-Smith highlights her masterful manipulation of fibres and textiles and it is striking that she should be the artist in the exhibition who most expressly questions whether her work should be defined as women’s art. Her work also reflects her experience with bookbinding. Some in the form of actual books, her works are often literal and symbolic pages weaving a personal history that highlights life-changing experiences but is also concerned with poverty and other historical and contemporary social injustices. The multi-panelled work Justice Denied…1600 and still Counting, the totem-like Guardian of Souls, and the haunting Thought we Mattered combine to make her installation Requiem of Souls, as the work on display is collectively titled, a reflective experience that stridently challenges the viewer to acknowledge the effects that these unresolved injustices have on our lives.

O’Neil Lawrence, Exhibition Curator

Miriam Hinds - Becoming a Memory (detail) (2015) (Photo: Andrew Smith)

Miriam Hinds – Becoming a Memory (detail) (2015) (Photo: Andrew Smith)

About Women’s Art

“The discussion of women’s art, or rather art made by women, needs to be viewed within a specific context. It requires an understanding of how women artists view themselves and how the controls and politics of the day engage or exclude female practitioners. Social status and relational proximity to these controls allow for particular voices to be heard, which in most instances are predominantly male; as against those who have been muted, predominantly female. However, if art-making is becoming increasingly borderless and ground-breaking, why would we want to prescribe artists to gendered definitions in the first place?”

“I see myself as an artist, not defined by my gender but by my desire to communicate on problematic societal issues as a nurturer, as a daughter, wife and worker. My own art involves experimentation with textile and thread, and although it is linked to tasks which are traditionally deemed “female,” I do not view it as “women’s work.” Such a categorization would be problematic, as it is near impossible to draw the line between men’s and women’s art within our (Jamaican) context. Within the global space that conversation may well be the converse as there is still strong evidence of this divide.”

Miriam Hinds-Smith

Miriam Smith - Justice Denied (2014)

Miriam Smith – Justice Denied (2014)

Coming Up – Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists

The Explorations III: Seven Women Artists exhibition, which will open at the NGJ on Sunday, May 31, asks the question whether any concept of women’s art is relevant in Jamaica today – it is part of our Explorations series, which examines the big themes and issues in Jamaican art, the first of which was Natural Histories (2013) and the second: Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican art.

Seven Women Artists, which is curated by Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence, features the work of seven mid-career female artists who live in Jamaica or art part of its diaspora and who work in a variety of media: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Judith Salmon, Miriam Smith, Prudence Lovell, Kereina Chang-Fatt, Berette Macaulay and Amy Laskin – a small but representative sample of accomplished female Jamaican artists. We invite viewers to explore whether there are any commonalities that set these artists’ work and careers apart from those of their male counterparts and whether there is any justification to label them, individually or collectively, as “women artists,” or their work as “women’s art.” We have also asked each of the artists to produce a statement on the subject that will be reproduced in the catalogue and the exhibition text panels.

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan - None but Ourselves (2015)

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan – None but Ourselves (2015)

The sculptural and sometimes wearable work of jeweller Jasmine Thomas-Girvan explores the complexities of Jamaican and Caribbean histories as well as the cultural implications of those histories.    Her spectacularly surreal assemblages often employ or are inspired by naturally occurring plant matter and oftentimes actively utilise found objects that have a personal resonance with the artist. Her work None but Ourselves references the intellectual legacy of Marcus Garvey highlighting the importance of the transmission of liberating values to the next generation.

Judith Salmon - Pockets of Memory (2012)

Judith Salmon – Pockets of Memory (2012)

The dynamics of memory are at the heart of the installation and assemblage work of Judith Salmon. Salmon who creates work that has, in some instances, involved an element of interactivity for instance Pockets of Memory (which invited viewers to leave notes or other things that had personal significance and made the audience a part of the creative process) explores the way in which memories are preserved obscured or lost over time. She utilises fibre, wax and various printmaking techniques to create work that contains multiple conceptual and also physical layers.

Miriam Smith - Justice Denied (2014)

Miriam Smith – Justice Denied (2014)

Miriam Smith is known for her mixed media artwork prioritised by her manipulation of fibres and textiles. Her work also reflects her experience of bookbinding, some in the form of actual books are often symbolic pages weaving a personal history that highlights life changing experiences but is also at its heart very much concerned with historical and contemporary social injustices. The multi-panelled work Justice Denied…1600 and Still Counting reflects that focus and challenges the viewer to do the same.

Prudence Lovell - Untitled (Connected III) (2015)

Prudence Lovell – Untitled (Connected III) (2015)

Prudence Lovell, an artist who’s widely ranging concerns coalesce in a number of stunning drawings and collages. To paraphrase her own words Lovell explores ‘the history and potential for allusion’ found in art as well as the various ‘truths’ found in documentary images. The ambiguities and disjunctions that occur due to the immediacy of photographic and other digital imagery and seeming reliability of these images and the often result in a rupture between perception and reality. Her most recent work, such as Untitled (Connected II), is based on Skype conversations with her children, who are studying overseas, and address the moderated reality of online connections, in terms of the ambiguities of the simultaneous experiences and realities of proximity and distance. Continue reading