“Bathed in Sacred Fire,” solo exhibition of Trinidad-based Jamaican artist, Jasmine Thoms-Girvan
Sour Grass is happy to share that our multi-year collaboration with Kunstinstituut Melly, kicked off on October 1st with Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s first European solo exhibition, “Bathed in Sacred Fire.”
“Bathed in Sacred Fire” showcases ten works, the earliest going back to 2015 with the most recent including newly commissioned works and sculptures. Thomas-Girvan’s command of craft and her experimentation with techniques intersects with her interest in folklore and myth, as much as contested histories, orality and literature. Her inspirations range from Carnival processions and Junkanoo dances to the literary work of Jamaican Poet Laureate Olive Senior and the multitudinous stories of Anansi, a trickster archetype brought from West Africa to the Caribbean through oral histories by enslaved people, which figures in mythologies, traditions, rites of passage and rituals.
Having studied textile and jewellery design in New York, she began her artistic trajectory with applied arts. Over the years, the artist increasingly shifted her practice from jewellery to sculpture. Thomas-Girvan has always explored Caribbean cultural histories, this focus becoming more evident as the dimensions of her work grew to imagine, conceptualise and spatialise more textured and intricate narratives.
In her sculpture ‘Real Princess’ (2016), she addresses the complexities and nuances of the transatlantic slave trade and African diasporas.
‘Axis Mundi’ (2018) from the ‘Turntables’ series urges a new and deeper listening to ancestral voices; a rotation becomes a tremble, a treasure becomes a nesting. Thomas-Girvan is invested in making new gestures and noises for a future where Black people are self-aware and held in healing.
Thomas-Girvan’s works are presented within the framework of Kunstinstituut Melly’s Solo Duets program, and as part of Gatherings and Passages, a multi-year collaboration with the Barbados-based curatorial agency Sour Grass that aims to foster a more comprehensive understanding of Caribbean contemporary art and culture. Gatherings and Passages is also an opportunity to raise awareness about colonial histories, and experiences of post-colonialism and decolonisation.
Sour Grass is a curatorial agency founded in 2020 by Holly Bynoe and Annalee Davis. This venture seeks to work with artists and creative practitioners from the Caribbean and across its diaspora, to build relationships with museums, cultural institutions, collectors, publishers, biennales, and both private and public entities. Sour Grass is interested in alternative arts pedagogy, building discursive programming, and connecting with global worldviews and mythoi, bringing to life affinities and parallels with the Caribbean.