Digital: Olivia McGilchrist


Olivia McGilchrist – Jonkonnu / Gens inconnus (2014-2015), video still


While we put the last touches on the Digital, in preparation for tomorrow’s opening, here is another feature on one of the artists in the exhibition:


Olivia McGilchrist was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1981. She was educated in France and the UK. In 1997 McGilchrist received a French Baccalaureat, specialising in Literature and Philosophy. She later attended Middlesex University, London where she attained a BFA in 2003. Then in 2010 she completed an MA degree in Photography at the London College of Communication. McGilchrist has been regularly exhibiting photography and film-based works internationally since 2008 and began exhibiting in Jamaica in 2011. In 2012 she won the SuperPlus Artist Under 40 Competition and has been named the 2016 Davidoff Limited Art Edition Artist. She currently lives and works in Canada.

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Olivia McGilchrist – Jonkonnu / Gens inconnus (2014-2015), video still

About the Work

 “Across the Caribbean, Jonkonnu was a festival created by the enslaved themselves; as a gesture of resistance. Although the more traditional forms are slowly dying, the power of Jonkonnu remains, albeit Jamaica’s current economic hardship. For this project, the viewer enters a 3D space in which the audio-visual sequences reveal snippets of the performance from both sides of the mask by proxy of a GoPro head-mounted camera worn by the band members. I refer to Jamaican scholar Stuart Hall’s delineation of post-colonial identity, which he sees ‘as a “production,” which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside representation.’ I refer to Barbadian writer Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘tidalectics’; an ‘alter-native historiography to linear models of colonial progress.’ Jonkonnu/Gens Inconnus makes a relational notion of ‘otherness’ available, activated through the viewer’s interaction with the work. The deconstruction and reconstruction of identities will be suggested but not consumed.”

Olivia McGilchrist - Jonkonnu / Gens inconnus (2014-2015), video still

Olivia McGilchrist – Jonkonnu / Gens inconnus (2014-2015), video still


Jonkonnu / Gens inconnus
3x 3min. video sequences with sound,
in collaboration with the Carlton Walters Jonkonnu Band (St Mary, Jamaica)


New Roots: Olivia McGilchrist

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Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1981 to a French mother and a Jamaican father and educated in France and the U.K. I moved back to Jamaica in 2011 after completing a Photography M.A. at the London College of Communication in 2010. Since this sudden return, I have indulged my alter-ego Whitey in her appropriation of this space of utter difference – Jamaica – by exploring trans-location and physical expressions of emotional states in the search for my cultural identity. Continue reading