'The Love of Men
and the Fear of Stones'
Harper's Gallery, Chelsea, New York City, 2022
For my first solo show at HARPER’S, I will present the diptych ‘Paradise has its price (Anansi #20).’ The concept of ‘Anansi’ in this ongoing series, is an embodied metaphor for finding psychological space for black queer love. In this anthology, my characters have begun to collapse into vivid abstractions made by the conjunction of hand-made mediums, charcoal drawing, and subtractive stencil work. Because of the ‘otherfication’ of the queer body in the black communities, in most cases, its invisibility gives room for reimagining. By embracing the mythology of the multi-legged creature’s anthropomorphology, Its African origin, and lore as trickster God, I use this as a metaphysical marker for moments of queer intimacy and memoir.
This piece will be in conversation with five other ‘portraits’ exploring new silhouettes teetering in and out of recognition. Holding space for thought and contemplation on the black body and its encounters.
The title of the show ‘The love of men and the fear of stones’ is taken from a line in
Kei Miller’s book of poems is called There is an Anger That Moves.* This title chosen, has a weight, that speaks to my own journey growing up gay in Jamaica, and its vulnerabilities; Where love and danger can present themselves in the same form.
I thought also the title had a distinct truth about the relationship between man and reality, man versus nature, man versus his ideals, or masculinity versus femininity. These binaries constrict and warp clarity in our relationships with each other as well as nature. I am presenting works preoccupied simultaneously with the corruptive power of hate and the vulnerabilities of love.
“If I were to write honestly
I would write about fat,
About close-fitting linen shirts
That once hid the soft fact of breasts.
I would write about the love
of men and the fear of stones
which in my country is the same thing.
I would write about the fear of inheriting
sugar, and the fear of lumps,
Lost teeth and doctors.
I would tell you how for months
I stopped writing or opening doors
because it was me, on the other side,
Wanting to be let in.”
- Kei Miller, ‘The Broken II’, There is an Anger That Moves, (Manchester 2007)