Thursday, March 2, 2017

AY/24/7: Richard Mark Rawlins

A Dress to the Nation

From 3 to 8 March, 2017, a new work by artist Richard Mark Rawlins will be installed in the Alice Yard Box and accessible to viewers 24/7.

The artist writes:

This work, created for the occasion of my 50th birthday, is meant to symbolise my feelings about the trust, hope, security, and prayer that in my opinion have been expected of every one of our citizens over the course of my lifetime, but without any real sense of reciprocity.

From as early as I knew myself, I can recall the countless times we as a nation, certainly my parents, my brother, and I, would dash home so as not to miss an announced “Address to the Nation” by the prime minister, or in some cases the president, of the day. Today that is no longer required, and it does not hold such  pomp, circumstance, and authority, as everything is re-broadcast on social media.

While some addresses were often responses to public dissatisfaction over some perceived ill or another, and others still heralded political actions to be taken against an opposition member or sitting member of government (read: sacking), or on the odd occasion the announcement of a curfew or house arrest, for the most part I found them mystifying, in the sense that they left me no better off than before. In recent times they could even be described as befuddling, leaving all but the most sycophantic in a perpetual “WTF” moment.

Every time I hear the words “an address to the nation” now, I can’t help but hear the song from the musical Annie playing in my head. That cute-lily-white-milky-soppiness of sacchrine, that extolls the virtues of looking on to a brighter day. The sun will come out tomorrow. Again. Yeah, allyuh could wait for that....

About the artist:

Richard Mark Rawlins is a graphic designer and artist living and working in Trinidad and Tobago. He is the publisher of the online art magazine Draconian Switch, and collaborator in the Alice Yard contemporary art-space initiative. Noted exhibitions include the Bienal Internacional de Asuncion 2015 (Paraguay); the Jamaica Biennial 2014; Season of Renewal, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica; The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York; The General Public, Alice Yard, Port of Spain; and NEO GLOBAL, AHFMB during Miami Artweek 2016. For the past ten years, he has been exploring the cultural poetics and politics of life in Trinidad and Tobago, notions of nationhood, and black identity as presented via a global lens.

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