April 2nd, 2019
Response To Jodi Minnis’ Gaulin Wife Performance
Sun kissed her chocolate skin. White garments. Water, intended for purification, drenched her. A galvanized steel tub, one similar to the kind a woman washes clothes or children in, mimicked an auction block advertising her mystique to voyeurs.
In an exclusive for Bahamian Art & Culture, Bahamian artist JEFFREY MERIS writes his response to fellow artist Jodi Minnis’ performance piece prepared especially for the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas’ Eighth National Exhibition (NE8) entitled Gaulin Wife: She Went to the Water.
Beneath her, grass sprawled. Vehicles buzzed by in the distance. History surrounded her body; sandwiched between the colonial—Villa Doyle—and the religious—St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
Artist Jodi Minnis’ eerie ritual of transformation, layering and un-clothing her bare flesh of societal baggage in her performance Gaulin Wife: She Went to the Water at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas [on Thursday December 15, 2016] called for a radical re-imagining of place, gender and narrative.
A mythical being said to bare the power of shape-shifting between woman and fowl, the Gaulin Wife is a Bahamian folklore used to warn womanizing Bahamian men against mysterious women. Minnis’ adaptation of the Gaulin Wife goes beyond our understanding of tradition and cultural norms; her performance was much more nuanced. (. . . )
Both Jodi Minnis and Jeffrey Meris hold studios at Popopstudios. Additionally, Meris is the recipient of the 2010 Popopstudios Junior Residency Award; Minnis was awarded the Popopstudios Junior Residency Prize in 2014.