Looking through Ronald Williams’ digital collages is an exercise in allusion. For example, in Bliss from his Making Sport series, we see a basketball player as a winged Hermes. That reference is clear, the godly pedestal upon which athletes (and usually black athletes) are placed. The basketball is a graphic fist of protest and his uniform is covered in food products with black people as the brands. Both arms are labeled with the n-word and his face is covered in a tragicomic mask. Williams presents and unpacks the role of the black athlete, but also the role of the black man and the Caribbean man. Williams explains, “Growing up in a post-colonial, globalized Caribbean state where mainstream images of the ‘black self’ were seldom locally created, there was a void which imported images (usually constructed by non-blacks and regularly negative) naturally filled.”
Sheena Rose is an artist whose self permeates through her work as much as anything else. In some cases, it is because she brings her audience into her life through performances, like A Bit of Gossip, A Bit of Privacy. Visitors are invited into her home to experience four unfolding scenes in separate rooms performed by local actors. Her series, Town, began as sketches and then migrated to animation. In either form, it is about Rose’s personal experience navigating cities as an outsider. It is a visualization of her experience of feeling out of place and making sense of a foreign city. In Sweet Gossip, Rose collaborated with photographer Adrian Richards and art historian Natalie McGuire to paint stereotypes of Barbadian pop and gossip culture and then activate them through placing them in public spaces with performances.