At the recent Caribbean Studies Association conference in Grenada, I had the privilege of watching a preview of Trinidadian director Mariel Brown’s forthcoming film, Kingston Shottas, and I was impressed, to say the least. Kingston Shottas follows Jamaican artists Marvin Bartley, Marlon James, and Ebony G. Patterson as they take on the controversial issues of race, class, slavery and homosexuality. In order to fund the film’s completion, Brown is using the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo.com. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the ongoing creative efforts of our Caribbean visual artists. I invite you watch the trailer in the links provided below and judge for yourself.
Description: Three friends in Kingston, Jamaica, armed with cameras, paints and courage, shoot photographs that tell the story of the turbulent and contradictory reality of their lives in Jamrock. At a time when contemporary art from the Caribbean is catching fire internationally, Kingston Shottas follows a group of young Jamaican artists who are at the vanguard of a youthful explosion of photography-based work. [. . .]
Marvin Bartley is thoroughly charming, in a roguish kind of a way. Yet, despite his appearance of boyish insouciance, Bartley is a skilled photographer, a perfectionist who wields the tools of photoshop as any painter would his paints and brushes. His completed pieces are tableaux comprised of layers of his own photographs, painstakingly constructed over months. Drawing inspiration from the great masters of classical fine art, Bartley’s photographs often echo the composition, lighting and attitude of his favourite masterpieces – with one exception: the subjects of Bartley’s works are invariably people of colour, forcibly inserting black people into visual scenes from which they have historically been absent.
Ebony G. Patterson is as in-your-face and flamboyant as the work she produces (her middle initial, G, is for Gangsta); but this belies her decidedly middle-class upbringing, a profound fascination with the sexual politics of her Jamaican milieu and a tireless work ethic which has made her the most prolific artist of the group and arguably its most successful. [. . .] Her current work, which comprises stunning, life-sized installations, tapestries, collages, paintings and photographs, focuses on gang culture in Jamaica, the fad of skin bleaching and the paradox of the effeminate and decorous gangsta.
As a portrait photographer, Marlon James seems to be forever searching the faces of people to find himself. His photographs provide nuanced glimpses of people who, like himself, exist on the periphery of the status quo. Aggressive when he’s wielding his camera, Marlon in person is shy and introspective – standing back away from the centre of the action so that he can see the picture as a whole.
[. . .] Like Marvin, Ebony and Marlon’s photographs, Kingston Shottas will make a compelling snapshot of life in contemporary Jamaica.
To contribute, please go to Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kingston-shottas-a-documentary-by-mariel-brown
Watch the trailer on vimeo at https://vimeo.com/66116312 or the Savant website: http://035d8fd.netsolhost.com/WordPress/documentary-projects/kingston-shottas/
Also see previous post Trinidadian Director Mariel Brown Speaks about Mixed Race-”isms” in the Caribbean