Jasmine Thomas-Girvan casts lyrical bronze and silver figures with dexterity and treats glass and metals as if these were delicate lines in an automatic drawing. These poetic assemblages often include anthropomorphised characters and depict or readily incorporate natural materials from Caribbean landscapes, including seeds and gourds, palm fronds and feathers, and detritus-turned-treasure washed up from the warming Atlantic. The artist’s interests lie in folklore and myth, as much as contested histories, orality and literature. Her inspirations range from Carnival processions and Junkanoo dances to the literary work of Jamaican Poet Laureate Olive Senior and the multitudinous stories of Anansi, a trickster archetype brought from West Africa to the Caribbean through oral histories by enslaved people.
Including newly commissioned work and recent sculptures, Thomas-Girvan’s solo exhibition at Kunstinstituut Melly will be her first in Europe. This exhibition by the Trinidad and Tobago-based artist is presented within the framework of Kunstinstituut Melly’s Solo Duets program, and as part of Gatherings and Passages, a new, multi-year collaboration with Sour Grass, the Barbados-based curatorial agency led by Annalee Davis and Holly Bynoe. Gatherings and Passages aim to foster a more comprehensive understanding of Caribbean contemporary art and culture. Its activities are also an opportunity to raise awareness about colonial histories, and experiences of post-colonialism and decolonisation.
The exhibition will be on view at Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam, Netherlands, from the 1st of October 2021 until the 20th March 2022.