Barbadian-Canadian painter Jordan Clarke shares her fourth blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. In her final week, Jordan confronts some of the underlying reasons for her disconnect with the Barbadian side of her identity, and sees her experience in the island as a starting point to build on as she investigates this part of her culture and herself. Read more below:
“As is common to most transnational communities, the extended family – as network and site of memory – is the critical conduit between the two locations.” (Stuart Hall, ‘Thinking the Diaspora: Home – Thoughts from Abroad’, Caribbean Political Thought)
It is typically through family that Caribbean migrants are able to maintain a sense of connection to their Caribbean culture. What happens, however, when there isn’t a sense of cultural sharing through family? How does this affect one’s sense of cultural identity?
In my fourth week at Fresh Milk, I confronted the fact that my father has never been solidly present to share his cultural identity and family with me. I drew a self-portrait in response, with the intention of representing a conversation I would have with my father. A more confident me stares out, confronting.
I realize that the work I have created here during my residency represents a starting point for further investigation of the theme of self-perception, as well as self-discovery. It will act as a guide for future work once I’m home.
In thinking about the four weeks I’ve been here, I couldn’t be more grateful for this rewarding experience. Having such a wonderful studio to work in, without the usual daily distractions, has been refreshing and inspirational. Fresh Milk’s extensive library, full of contemporary Caribbean literature and art publications, has been an invaluable tool for informing my work here. I can’t thank both Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy enough for all their help and support. Annalee is full of knowledge and has been able to point me in directions I showed interest in, while leaving me space to navigate my art practice. I would also like to thank Aaron Kamugisha for his help and good company.
It has been so stimulating to connect with all the artists who have visited Fresh Milk during my residency. I see my time here as a starting point, a spark that will encourage further exploration and dialogue in my art practice.
This residency is supported by the Ontario Arts Council.