Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Artist statement for my last solo show.

This current body of work is a continuation of previous endeavors, It is the third show based loosely on the search for a sense of place, home and self.
Who am I? Where do I come from? These are questions that have formed the basis for a continuing series of paintings. I had the idea for these particular pieces when I decided to go back into my father’s old slide collection. My father produced these slides and photographic works during the late 1950’s and 1960’s in Trinidad and Tobago as well as Argentina. Trinidad being the place where he met my Mother, and consequently where my sister and I were born.
Going through these slides I have always found something in each of them that I thought would work well in a painting. I also found myself getting lost in these pictures, they had a familiarity to them that I couldn’t place. I felt they belonged to me, they were a part of who I was. But I didn’t know these places, nor did I know these people that populated the images.
My work deals with issues of displacement, the separation of the individual from a cultural and social past, and the attempt to reclaim a history created through oral and photographic traditions. Having been born in Trinidad and raised mostly in Canada, these issues are familiar to me, as they are likely to many Canadians. Although these histories may not be connected to my own past in an experiential way, they are integral in my personal development and history.
Our family left, when I was quite young. For me this has posed an on going dilemma of a historical sense of identity. Born in Trinidad raised in Canada, I found myself always asking who am I? Where have I come from? Through a tradition of oral, pictorial, and culinary story telling, aspects of a West Indian back ground or heritage have always been maintained in my family. A fondness for a place I really don’t remember has been fostered. So I have tried to create a mythology of my own in conjunction with those traditions, those stories, those histories. These paintings tell a story for me, of who I am and where I have come from. They are here to remind me of my heritage. They are constructions of characters and places that together inform me of my own history, and current sense of place.

SIMON FLEMING

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