Dr Petrine Archer-Straw is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Department of History of Art, Cornell University. She is best known for her scholarship related to Negrophilia and Avant Garde Paris and her knowledge of Caribbean art history. Her current research focuses on art in the African Diaspora while her teaching interests relate to black visual culture, caribbean cultural exchange and distance teaching.
Born in Britain to Jamaican parents, she was educated at the University of the West Indies B.A. (Theology History Sociology, 1975-78) and an M.Phil (Cultural History, 1983-87), and also trained as an artist at the Jamaica School of Art (Diploma. Painting,1979-82). She gained her M.A. Art History and Ph.D. (Modern) from the Courtauld Institute, University of London, where she subsequently taught (1994-95). Archer-Straw is also a certified appraiser (New York University, 2010) and an Associate of the Appraisers Association of America.
Since receiving her doctorate in 1994 she has worked as a consultant for a number of institutions in the Caribbean and Britain including the Royal Academy, London where she worked as coordinating editor for the exhibition and publication Africa the Art of a Continent (1995) the National Gallery of Jamaica where she has been a visiting curator member of the Board of Directors since 2000; The British Council where she worked as a consultant to evaluate and promote the profile of that organization in the Caribbean (1999-2000), The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas where she spearheaded the development of that institution’s curatorial practices and policies following its establishment (2000-2002), and the School of Visual Arts in Jamaica where she designed that college’s first degree program in Art History (2002-2004).
Throughout her career Archer-Straw has maintained her professional activities as a curator in the main making exhibition’s that expose international audiences to British and Caribbean art. Her Caribbean exhibitions include; One Man’s Vision: The Vincent D’Aguilar Collection (NAGB, 2003) and Past, Present and Personal: The Dawn Davies Collection (NAGB, 2004), Fifty Years Fifty Artists ( EMCVPA, 2003). Her international exhibitions include Home and Away: Seven Jamaican Artists, October Gallery (London 1994): New World Imagery: Contemporary Jamaican Art (South Bank Centre - National Touring Exhibitions, 1995), Photos and Phantasms: Harry Johnston’s Photographs of the Caribbean (Royal Geographical Society, London and touring, The British Council, 1998) and Back to Black, (Whitechapel Gallery, London 2005).
Archer-Straw is the co-author of Jamaican Art (Kingston Publishers, 1990), editor of Fifty Years-Fifty Artists (Ian Randle Publishers, 2000), and the author of Negrophilia: Avant Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s (Thames & Hudson, 2000). She has also written numerous articles on a wide range of issues related to research in the field of Negrophilia including; “A Double Edged Infatuation” The Guardian, London, 2000 “Paradise, Primitivism and Parody”, in Okwui Enwezor~Carlos Basualdo~Ute M. Bauer, Creolite and Creolization, Documenta 11- Platform 3, Kassel, 2002; “Why Not Africa, Nancy?”Norman Douglas, (3rd Symposium) Thuringen, Austria, 2003. In addition during the 1980s she worked as a critic, producing radio programmes and writing articles on the Jamaican art scene. Since 2000 she has focused her critical writing around the work of a handful of female artists, these articles have all been published by Caribbean Beat, MEP, Trinidad, 2000-2003. She has also documented her own work as a feminist painter in “Pages from My Diary’ Patricia Mohammed (ed.) Gendered Realities: Essays in Caribbean feminist Thought, UWI Press, Mona, 2002. Archer-Straw is currently working on an entitled Rasta! scheduled for display in 20012/13. For more information visit: http://www.petrinearcher.com