8 August 2013 to 8 September 2013
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning
Gerard Hanson’s Fashioned Realities
Photographs, by nature, create space between subject and object, and in that space old memories are preserved. Sometimes, however, the rules and functions of photography can be inverted so that new memories are produced.
Visiting his father’s homeland, Gerard Hanson’s encounter with ‘Street Salons’ leads to a fascination with the practice of weaving, hair straightening and wigs, which have become inherent to daily life in Jamaica. Taking as a starting point the questioning of his own identity, Gerard’s quest is documented in a series of works, which he refers to as ‘photo paintings’: black and white photographs, printed on canvas and refashioned with colorful acrylic paint.
Through a personal series of photographic documentation during his stay there, Gerard interweaves with his own roots a view on a problematic cultural reality:an ‘Eurocentric hair form’ that has been ‘embedded’ in Jamaican culture. Interestingly - and perhaps, paradoxically – this concern comes from a Jamaican, born and raised in Europe. Documenting Jamaican lifestyle through photography in both Jamaica and the UK and altering that documentation with gentle marks can be seen as the artist’s gesture towards resolving that paradox by embracing his own uprooting but without necessarily negating his own upbringing.
Gerard’s technique organically merges past recollections with their reconstructions and in that synthesis it goes beyond standardized theories of race and identity as the result lies between polarized views: on the one side, the monotonous accounts of history and theory and, on the other, the colourful weaving of subjective expression.
Eleni Savvidou - Curator