Give and Take Installation, 2016
Animation: r/t/m 2mins
Documentation Courtesy of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Photo by: Matthew Vicari
Give and Take Installation weaves together concepts of nature and science with objects and practices rooted in my Afro-Grenadian tradition to create a fantastical interpretation of a creation myth.
The title of the series derives its name from a rare tree species native to Central America that contains both a powerful toxin and its own antidote – a concept that is reinforced throughout the animation with the use of snakes, whose venom can be used as both poison and remedy. Give and Take centers on Red Rag Rosie, an all-black figure from whose perspective the viewer follows from childhood to motherhood, and is a narrative descendent of the Jab Jab, a Grenadian tradition where masqueraders cover themselves in molasses, burnt cane, or black grease – as a display of racial pride – and march through the streets during Carnival with chains, ropes and serpents. The Jab Jab performance references the emancipation of slaves in the Caribbean. I connect this historical act of resistance and rebellion to my own coping strategy in response to contemporary instances of violence against the black body.