Of Masks and Mobility...

Submitted by Jeeraik009 on Wed, 05/02/2012 - 09:50

 

Olivia Mc Gilchrist's multi-media exhibition my dear daddy currently on show at the School of Visual Art's CAGE gallery raises issues about race and gender with imagery that is provocative and compelling. Working with photographs, archival inkjet prints, large scale images printed on vinyl, video and stop frame animation, the exhibition is a precisely considered installation with family furniture and memorabilia that nostalgically explores the artist's past and her relationship with her Jamaican father who died when she was a child. Returning, to her family home after years abroad studying, Mc Gilchrist places her own masked portraits in domestic scenes that suggest her desire to reconstruct the past and retrace a lost family identity. Her use of a white mask taken from the theatrical imagery of Belisario's Actor Boy and an alter ego that the artist calls 'whitey', become useful devices for exploring psycho-sexual romantic yearnings. Depicted, slow dancing with her father, or nervously jittering on the edge of his (?) grave, Mc Gilchrist communicates the sense of isolation she experiences as a white person exploring this 'dark' past. In a society, where white people often have a greater sense of privilege and upward mobility, Olivia's rendering of her personal emotional stasis provides a frank and chilling perspective about the impact of race and cultural dislocation on contemporary Caribbean identities.