Announcing DOWNTOWN – the second in the SYNESTHESIA series of visual arts exhibitions with live sounds, moving image and projections, curated by me – Kate Ross.
This exhibition brings together work from artists who explore the urban, particularly as realised by the idea of Downtown – the core of a city and its creative heart. However, the artwork in this show is further unified as it relates to an African and specifically Jamaican Downtown of Kingston. The artists whose work is shown in DOWNTOWN have been influenced by Jamaican music, the presence of Jamaican culture in London and its vibrant history which has been brought over from one urban hub to create another.
This exhibition brings together reproduced images of new collages created by Jenny Gordon, photographs and film stills by WhittyGordon Projects from their work in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica and a collection of material collated by Winstan Whitter including flyers, posters and photographs illustrating the story of The Four Aces Club, Dalston.
Artist Jenny Gordon has created new collages for DOWNTOWN which were inspired by sources including nature and found objects such as photographs. Gordon examines concepts of identity, isolation and alienation. Her practice asks questions about how we inhabit the world both physically and emotionally, by drawing upon her own experiences as a woman of mixed race origin. The resulting negotiations of cultural positioning form the foundation of her enquiry into the dislocations of personal identity and physical belonging. In making these collages, Gordon has enjoyed drawing on her personal memories of visiting the Notting Hill area as a child with her parents and she has also reflected on stories she has been told by them of their experiences of the area during the 1950s when Notting Hill was a hotbed of Jamaican culture.
Whitty Gordon Projects (artists Fiona Whitty & Jenny Gordon) have spent plenty of time exploring the vibrant and bustling urban area that is Downtown Kingston, Jamaica for the past three years. In Kingston, Downtown is the heart of the city where the action happens and creative activity is buzzing on the streets. Downtown is a melting pot of diverse communities – pouring out onto the pavements from dilapidated buildings and all walks of life are seen including carpenters, young artists, street hair dressers, barbers, musicians, nail technicians and street food merchants who artists Whitty and Gordon have met and filmed.
Printed stills taken from short films and photographs by Whitty Gordon Projects are being displayed in the exhibition DOWNTOWN to evoke something of the Jamaican urban hub that artists Fiona and Jenny experienced and are fascinated by. The gap between Downtown and Uptown is large in many terms and both artists have worked hard with local communities to bridge it through collaborative creative projects.
Film maker and Director of Photography Winstan Whitter started out making skateboarding films in the ‘90s and has since worked on short films, commercials, documentary feature films and music promos for artists including Echo & The Bunny men, Scissor Sisters, Lionel Ritchie and Paul McCartney. In 2008 Whitter shot “Legacy In The Dust: The Four Aces Story’’ which tells the story of one of the first Reggae-oriented music venues – ‘The Four Aces Club’. For some 33 years it was home to the most influential black music and musicians to date. DOWNTOWN exhibition at Notting Hill Arts Club is proud to display a number of printed reproduction images of Whitter’s ‘Four Aces Club’ screen-prints therefore linking shared histories of London nightclubs and Jamaican music.
The exhibition DOWNTOWN tells the story of DOWNTOWN through the eyes of the artists and curator with their joint enriching blend of Jamaican, British, Irish, Ghanaian and Jewish cultures.
Live on the Night – DOWNTOWN
Continuing with the SYNESTHESIA series theme of creating a multi sensory experience, as well as the visual arts exhibition, DOWNTOWN will also feature film, moving image, projections, live music and DJ sets.
A curated selection of short films will be shown on the night of 8th August by a range of artist film makers who respond to the theme of DOWNTOWN whether this is in the sense of urban subject matter or other connected identities. Whitty Gordon Projects will also screen a film they made after collecting material when undertaking In-Between Spaces, a film project based in Kingston Jamaica in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Conor O’ Grady
Leona Clinton & Mary Caffrey
Integral to the atmosphere of downtown Kingston, Jamaica are the sounds on the streets, produced by musicians and those who organise music nights in the area which artists Fiona Whitty & Jenny Gordon have done there themselves. So, DOWNTOWN exhibition too will be accompanied by music from DJs and bands inspired by Jamaican, African urban sounds.
WhittyGordon Projects are Fiona Whitty and Jenny Gordon. Fiona and Jenny met during their MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 2009. Fiona is Irish and Jenny is British/Jamaican. They received funding to undertake In-Between Spaces, a film project based in Kingston Jamaica in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when made several short films including Yabba Pot, Vincent and Downtown. They formed WhittyGordon Projects in 2011 and have participated in numerous shows in London, Ireland, Jamaica and are currently based in London.
Film maker and Director of Photography Winstan Whitter started out making skateboarding films in the ‘90s and has since worked on short films, commercials, documentary feature films and music promos for artists including Echo & The Bunny men, Scissor Sisters, Lionel Ritchie and Paul McCartney. Whitter also works as a mentor/facilitator on many film making workshops within the educational sector.
Whitty Gordon Projects http://whittygordonprojects.tumblr.com
Jenny Gordon http://jennygordon20.tumblr.com/
Winstan Whitter http://www.winstanwhitter.net/
Please join the Facebook event for the night by clicking here