Kingdom of This World
This work was commissioned for 'The Kingdom of This World, Reimagined' which celebrates the 70th anniversary of Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier’s historical novel, The Kingdom of This World (1949). The work is a triptych with a prophetic photographic reconstruction of William Blake’s illustration of ‘Europe Supported by Africa and the Americas’, from a book used by the British abolitionists, at its centre. This is flanked by two constructed portraits based upon a John Thomas Smith illustration from his 1817 book, 'Vagabondiana', which depicts an injured black British sailor begging in Whitechapel’s streets with a ship on his head to denote his former employment. John Thomas Smith, a colleague and friend of William Blake, depicts a swathe of British people who chose the life of the vagabond or beggar rather than the misery of working in the Northern factories. This triptych portrays the intervolved histories between the disenfranchised British working class, the ironic complications of the abolition movement and the complexity of the Haitian Revolution.
It is accompanied by a short film shot on analogue super 8 shot at the Citadelle.
Exhibition website KofTW exhibition
This exhibition brings to life the slippages of past and present manifest in Carpentier’s masterpiece through a dynamic grouping of contemporary artworks, each of which responds to the novel’s vivid and violent descriptions of colonial enslavement and the struggle for Black freedom and nation. Participating international artists include Dudley Alexis, José Bedia, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Scherezade García, Sergio García, José García Cordero, Simryn Gill, Leah Gordon, Roberto Juárez, and Maggie Steber.
Prints by Giuseppe De Angelis and Debbie Sears (Europe Supported) and hand-tinting by Marg Duston.
2023 - Acquisition of Kingdom of this World | A Triptych by the Royal Museums Greenwich for their collection.
2023 - Galleries of the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow University, PA
2021 - Pensacola Museum of Art, FL
2019 - Little Haiti Cultural Center Gallery Satellite Gallery, Miami