Here is the latest Q&A conversation between Marsha Pearce and Trinidadian artist Richard Mark Rawlins. It is part of the series Q&A Quarantine and Art [also see previous post Q&A Quarantine and Art.] Here are excerpts of the conversation. For full interview and photos of Rawlins’ work, go to Q&A: The Past Comes Full Circle.
[. . .] Marsha Pearce: Congratulations on the inclusion of your work in this year’s Dak’Art Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition in Senegal, Africa. The biennale has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis but what does its theme “Out of the Fire” mean to you and your work? A press note for the event explains that the theme refers to forging or “the creation of a new and autonomous world…projecting new ways of telling and approaching Africa, in a constant dialogue and interaction with the rest of the world.” How does your art practice relate to these ideas?
Richard Mark Rawlins: One of the tenets of my work is to examine what it means to be a part of the African diaspora. For me that’s larger than being Trinidadian/ West Indian/Caribbean. It opens up the narrative around migration, experiences, ancestral memories, nationhood, identity, personal lived experiences and evolving contexts. In a sense, wherever people of colour are in the world, we are part of a diaspora. For some of us, a diaspora of a diaspora, and others, a diaspora of a diaspora of a diaspora. I see the theme as meaning that Africa is wherever it is, when it is, and needs to be. I liken it to the description of an avatar in flux. In Hinduism, an avatar is described as a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth. It’s how I see the African diaspora as something within my work and me. I explore what that means. Because to study that helps me find me. [. . .]
Read full interview at http://marshapearce.com/qanda/the-past-comes-full-circle/
See more on the artist’s work at richardmarkrawlins.com/ and Instagram: @rmraffinity