Lawrence Graham-Brown

Lawrence Graham Brown is a Jamaican artist living in New Jersey, USA who has been exhibiting in Jamaica since the 1990's. His work is stridently race conscious,
wrestling with issues related to Black and gay self-hatred, Black-ness,
Jamaican-ness, African-ness, sexuality, class and religion. He achieves all this through a self-taught direct style that calls on Rastafari and Garvey symbolism.

Often beginning with found objects, the pan-African colours red, green and black are a regular feature that help to distinguish and 'package' his work. Like a shorthand these colours underpin his imagery and re-enforce their political statements. Next, is the use of crude lines, rough edges and broken forms that suggest violence but also immediacy and gut feelings. Finally, his writing, like grafitti supplies a narrative for works that regularly run in series. Niggah Deh Winner is just such an example, where the words compulsively stamped on every surface become an integral part of compositions that tell a story about black supremacy but also commodification.

Because of the strident nature of his works, they have occasionally come under institutional scrutiny and censorship. This is symptomatic of the Caribbean's bourgeoise patrons who support art but are still coming to terms with issues of identity, and the very self hatred that Graham Brown's work contests. But Graham-Brown's work is unrelenting and as our middle classes become more informed about race issues, his work gain greater acceptance.