Judith Salmon, visual artist, is exhibiting a significant body of her work, including paintings, mixed media and installations at the KROMA Gallery, Miami, Florida, which opened on February 4 and goes up to March 13. The exhibition spans two important commemorative periods – Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
February is celebrated as Black History Month and Salmon believes through her exhibition it is important to commemorate the achievements of black people (Africans in the diaspora), particularly African Americans, while also honouring important world leaders, including Dr Martin Luther King and other cultural and political figures.
“Women’s History Month is also significant because for this brief period women’s struggles and achievements can be recognised and accredited. Although women make up half the world’s population, the reality is we do not enjoy a great proportion of the wealth and productive resources of the globe,” Salmon said.
“As a black Jamaican woman and an artist, I identify with both Black History and Women’s History. Further, I identify as an artist living in the African diaspora which includes black persons of Jamaican, Caribbean and African extraction wherever they gather and form communities throughout the world,” she added.
Salmon believes that a common humanity is inflected in her work because of her use of symbols and metaphors which are common to all people. “For example – persons who are considered first-nation people as well as Jewish people have expressed to me how profoundly moved they were by symbols of journey, of separation, as well as of reclamation which occur in my work,” she said.
As an artist, she says, she has drawn deeply from the diaspora experience; her work and subject matter sit across these two themes, as evident from her title ‘Memories and the Carriage of Feet’.
Salmon recently exhibited in Explorations 111 at the National Gallery of Jamaica. The multidimensional exhibits by seven female artists continue at the National Gallery West in Montego Bay until February 21, 2016.
Audiences who visited Salmon’s exhibits had the opportunity to interact with her ‘Pockets of Memory’, where they could share a memory by leaving a note or token in the crochet pockets. These items were later consolidated to create a new work. ‘Pockets of Memory’ will also be shown at KROMA Gallery, and visitors will be encouraged to continue the engagement.
Her interest, she said, is to get persons to be more than spectators, but to enter in the spirit of the work and be engaged with it. “Recent pieces such as ‘Pockets of Memory’ invite this kind of interactive response. Persons leave notes in the pockets expressing joy, sadness, and a range of personal thoughts,” Salmon said.
She is hoping that by showing this piece at KROMA Gallery, visitors will bring small pieces of their world to leave in the pockets. “After a while I gather all the bits of paper left in the pockets and create a new work from them,” Salmon said.
The exhibition is being hosted by the Collaborative Development Corporation (CDC). This is a non-profit community organisation which began its operation in Cocount Grove, Miami. CDC operates the KROMA Gallery through which they offer a platform for emerging and independent artists who work in diverse media. Kroma Gallery has two large communal exhibition spaces and 19 studios which artists may work out of.