An Affinity for Caribbean Culture


The Jamaica Observer writes about Jasmine Thomas-Girvan and the exhibition “Affinities: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan and Chris Ofili,” which is on view until September 21, 2019, at the David Zwirner Gallery-London (located at 24 Grafton Street, Mayfair, London, UK). [Also see previous post Art Exhibition: Affinities—Chris Ofili and Jasmine Thomas-Girvan.]

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s accomplishments are nothing to scoff at. The Jamaican-born, Trinidad-based artist is the recipient of many awards including the Commonwealth Foundation Arts Award, and a Silver Musgrave Medal. She has been profiled in numerous publications such as the Huffington Post , HYPEBEAST , Time Out London , and, of course, t he Jamaica Observer . Fans of her work live at all corners of the globe, and she has had exhibits at impressive venues including the National Gallery and more recently at David Zwirner Gallery in London.

The well-known and highly-respected David Zwirner Gallery is located in the tony neighbourhood of Mayfair. It has hosted exhibits by art world powerhouses like Yayoi Kusama, Jeff Koons, and Diane Arbus. And on August 30 the gallery swung its doors open and welcomed Thomas-Girvan and Trinidadian-born artist Chris Ofili whose co-exhibition is entitled Affinities.

But how did Thomas-Girvan get on the radar of the gallery? “The gallery saw the work in Trinidad when they came to my studio and were very excited to show the work,” said Thomas-Girvan speaking with SO from London. “Of course, I was pleased that they were so enthusiastic, and when the correspondence started, I realised they were serious. The pieces were chosen in consultation with Chris [Ofili]. The response has been tremendous so far.”

The David Zwirner Gallery describes Affinities as a “rich artistic conversation that exists between these two artists, arising both in response to their shared environment as well as an ongoing dialogue throughout the nearly two decades they have known each other”. Thomas-Girvan describes her work as “diverse and rich as the land we are privileged to walk on…” and is influenced by “Caribbean people, myths, architecture, literature, food, fashion, moonfire, birdsongs, radio waves, and even the way feathers mysteriously arrive carried on the wind”.

On opening night, Caribbean art collectors, artists, and movers and shakers in London’s art world poured into the gallery to catch a glimpse of the works of two Caribbean artistic masterminds. If you’re unable to hop across the pond before the show closes on September 21, SO offers a peek. Oh, and by the way, yes, some of Thomas-Girvan’s works have sold.

[Photo above: Jasmine Thomas- Girvan at work in her studio in Trinidad.]

Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention. For original article, see

Also see “Canoodling Calypsos and colonial critiques at opening of David Zwirner’s new Caribbean show
Louisa Buck,” The Art Newspaper:

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