NGJ Summer Exhibition: Michael Chambers

Michael Chambers

Michael Chambers - Builders of Empires (2019) - Artist

Michael Chambers – Builders of Empires

Chambers addresses controversial topics with his photographic artistry that reflect his diaspora. Some of these topics include social injustice, survival of the human spirit, AIDS awareness and multi-culturalism. 

Michael Chambers - Honouring Lives (2019) - Artist

Michael Chambers – Honouring Lives

Facebook: @michaelchambersphotography

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Jeana Lindo

Jeana Lindo

aquim_jeanalindo_16 - Artist

Jeana Lindo – Sunlit Man

When I photograph men, they tend to cover their faces or pose in ways that conceal their true nature. I always push them to change this behavior in order to reveal a more vulnerable side of the self. Unfold your arms, loosen your shoulders, look directly into the lens. Tell me who you are, be proud, present yourself to the world.

The subject of this image, Aquim, was willing to present himself in an honest way on the afternoon he agreed to pose for me. I had found two bougainvillea branches during a walk and shared that I was looking for someone to hold them to make an archway in a royal fashion. He let on that he was shy, but open to the idea and we set off to take pictures under the blazing sun. When we came across this tree, I was very interested in the way the shadows fell upon his face. I like to associate the words ‘quiet storm’ with Aquim. He has a youthful spirit and I appreciate the seriousness this portrait affords him.

When asked about the meaning of his name, Aquim once said “The only meaning I would put to it is the concept of bohemia – ideals that deal with truth, freedom and freedom of choice to do whatever you want.”

Instagram: @jeanalindophoto

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Michele Lee Lambert

Michele Lee Lambert

Windows 3-final

Michele Lee Lambert – Downtown Deco

After the 1907 earthquake that devastated much of Kingston, Art Deco buildings were built in the downtown area, most of which are now in ruins due to years of neglect. This piece is an ode to the rarely recognized architectural style in Jamaica whose beauty is still palpable, and to the people who occupied these buildings. This work, like a lot of my art, exemplifies the “aesthetics of decay” which is eloquently described by William Seitz-

“When paper is soiled or lacerated, when cloth is worn, stained, torn, when wood is split, weathered, or patterned with peeling coats of paint, when metal is bent or rusted, they gain connotations which unmarked materials lack.”

Instagram: @micheleleelambert

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Albert Chong

Albert Chong

Albert Chong - Throne for Ancestors Series

Albert Chong – Throne for Ancestors Series

When I was still living in Brooklyn, New York in 1987, I picked up a discarded chair from the streets of my neighborhood in Williamsburg. I took it home and set to work covering the exposed wood of this wicker chair with the dried and preserved skin of salted codfish. Why the skin of salted Cod you may ask? Salted Cod is an essential ingredient in the national dish of my home country Jamaica. This is because Canada was a colony of England during slavery and it was imported as a protein source for slave rations. The chair was then used in the creation of the photograph titled Throne for the Ancestors. At the time of the making of this work I did not have a significant reason for its creation. At the time I was very interested in the idea of Art Brut or the notion of art being a deeply primitive aesthetic trait that is but the vessel or medium for the transmission of culturally abstract notions, ideas and concepts of human expression that can not be presented in any other means but the visual. 

I was interested in the notion of the Intuitive Artist, one who could locate, focus and transmit the obscure messages and images, sounds and dance that were the cultural signifiers that were embedded and confused within the bodies and consciousness of the survivors of slavery, poverty, servitude in effect the Post Colonial condition. I was searching for a model of the modern artist as a contemporary manifestation of the shaman. I was also in quest for the very elusive thesis of African and Asian retentions in the genetic descendants of those cultures that are usually most clearly expressed in the arts. 

Albert Chong - Throne for Ancestors Series detail

Albert Chong – Throne for Ancestors Series (detail)

The Thrones were created based on this premise in which I would try to create work that was not conceived along the usual Eurocentric norms of representation. Instead the goal was to try to reconnect with an ancient collective consciousness. The series gets its name from the title of the above mentioned work from 1987. Thrones are transcendent chairs that were the primary visual symbol of the power of Rule or Royalty, only the crown is the other most recognizable symbol. I have over the years developed a cursory interest in chairs/thrones and have endeavored to embellish and transform found chairs into thrones that were named based on the entities that they represented. The Thrones functioned not unlike shrines or altars to spirits or deities and served as the seat of mystical power in invoking the presences of the Ancestors. 

Throne for the Justice 1991 is based on my father and is graced with his image on the seat. While Throne for Mr. Baker is about my paternal grandfather and he is represented with a clay head while still others are dedicated to the Orishas or saints or spirit forces of Santeria. 

Albert Chong, May 30, 2019

Instagram: @albert_v_chong
Facebook: Albert Chong – The Works

NGJ Summer Exhibition: Hanif James

Hanif James 

Hanif James - Lost Identity - Artist

Hanif James – Lost Identity

“Beyond Self” consists of two photographic works namely, “Mirrored Identity” and “Reshaped Identity”. The pieces attempt to convey the contrasting difference between the ever-changing and dynamic internal identities that we choose, and the rigidly defined identity of the body we are given. However, in an effort to explore the many identities we choose for ourselves, we can easily be lost in finding out who we really are. Perhaps, the mystery of who we are is revealed in submitting the internal identity to the given singular bodily identity and the two become one seamless envelope flowing into each other.

Hanif James - Reformed Idenitity - Artist

Hanif James – Reformed Idenitity

Instagram: @iamhanifjames