Ebony Grace Patterson, a recipient (2006) of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Arts and Culture in Jamaica, has recently presented her new work, “Ganstas, Disciplez plus the Doiley Boyz,” at the CAG(e), the Edna Manley College Art Gallery in Jamaica. “Gangstas, Disciplez plus the Doiley Boyz,” an exhibition of mixed media works, explores perceptions of masculinity in Jamaican dancehall culture. The work consists of “portrait-like images of Jamaican males, glamorized with glitter, paper doilies and elaborately patterned wallpapers and fabrics and related to contemporary Jamaican realities with ironic components such as gilded painted toy soldiers and brightly colored toy guns.” Through the work, Patterson seeks to probe the “contradictory interplay between the hard-core masculine posturing of the ‘gangsta’ and the feminised personal aesthetic which is the norm among many males in the dancehall culture and exemplified by such practices as skin-bleaching, eyebrow shaping and the wearing of flamboyant ‘bling’ jewellery.” Patterson, a young artist with a rapidly growing body of work and an impressive resumé, believes that “the artist has a major role … we have a responsibility to document, think, educate … impart knowledge, be provocative and force people to think. In essence, we are educators, thinkers, and documenters of life.”
Patterson is an Assistant Professor in Painting at the University of Kentucky, and currently lives and works in Kingston, Jamaica and Lexington, Kentucky.
For more on Patterson go to http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090503/arts/arts2.html