Deception At Popopstudios
Photography is a language just like any other art form. It is a way of holding memories captive through a simple snap. Through the language of photography, a number of Bahamian photographers expressed interpretations of the theme “Deception” at a new exhibit.
The collection of fine art photography by 17 artists was launched last Thursday at the Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts.
For contributing artist Kishan Munroe, his collection of photos in the Deception exhibit document the protest movement against the controversial execution of Troy Davis, an African-American who was convicted of murdering a police officer in Savannah, Georgia in 1989.
The racially charged conviction of Davis was fiercely contested by activists, who used mass protests in their fight. In a personal statement issued days before his death, Davis said he felt “deceived by the system”.
Kishan travelled to Georgia in September to “capture the spirit of solidarity, hope and desperation surrounding those final hours” before Davis was executed. He titled his new collection “I am Troy Davis. You are Troy Davis” to illustrate how all people are vulnerable to being deceived by the system.
One of Kishan’s unique pieces includes a photo of a reverend who decided to chain himself to a flagpole in front of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles in Atlanta.
Lying flat on the floor, about one foot from the reverend’s crossed feet, Kishan was able to capture the emotional stand-off between the reverend and police.
“I was the only photographer there on site. Soon eight police officers approached the reverend, encircling him. They then pulled out a large pair of bolt cutters and broke the ties of the metal chain. I navigated my way around the officers, contorting my body to get provocative visual perspectives indicative of the situation unfolding before me,” said Kishan.
“Between a corridor of police I snapped the shot of the reverend, seated against the pole with clasped hands, wearing his white collar and wrapped with the thick metal chain. Solemnly he stared directly into my lens, and the rest is history,” he said.
Through his investigation of extreme emotional response and conflict, Kishan said he saw himself playing the role of “confidant, historian and protector”.
“It is a short-lived relationship where the subject trusts you, and often times, as in the case of protests, depends on you as a source of protection from the all too often abusive treatment of officers of the law,” said Kishan.
Jackson Petit, a first-time exhibitor, took a completely different approach to the subject.
With just one photograph on display at the studio, Jackson chose to capture the image of a white mask against a stark black background. His black and white digital print image is called “Ominous”.
“Thematically the image deals with identity and how we all wear masks constantly to deal with our day-to-day realities,” said Jackson.
Through his work, he said he wants to challenge viewers to look beyond the mask and ask: “What is it that I am not seeing? What is hidden? Why is only this revealed and that other concealed?”
Jackson said he took great care in composing the image, setting the lighting and choosing the subject for his final product. It may just be one piece, but he said it speaks volumes.
Other contributing artists include Ash Henderson, Holly Parotti, John Cox, Sabrina Lightbourn, Dede Brown, Heino Schmid, Lisa Wells, Steffon Grant, Lyndah Wells, Phoebe Luk, Duke Wells, Jeff Major, Alistair Stevenson, Jason Bennett, and Kendal Hanna.
The exhibit is set to be on display until the new year, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 1pm-5pm.
By Alesha Cadet
Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2011