In my work, I try to bring awareness to a plethora of issues and observations through subliminal elements that aim to bridge the gap between generations. I achieve this by combining folklore, history and architecture with technoculture, science fiction and steampunk themes. This unlikely combination of influences creates a boundless fictional realm for the expression of my ideas and scenarios and pushes the boundaries of the Caribbean visual vernacular. I have been fascinated by Afrofuturism: a conceptual approach that revolves around the African Diaspora’s consciousness, creating a reimagined future that stems from the Diasporic community’s experiences and historical past. I chose to shift my lens to the Caribbean diaspora as an entity of its own as I examine and imagine my own alternative future based on my own multi-influenced Trinidadian history, experiences, and projections.
One of the issues I have been grappling with is the notion of “Paradise” and how closely associated it is with the Caribbean; every island an idyllic paradise in its own right. Paradise is often compared to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve experienced, heaven on Earth before their betrayal.
In fact, the word ‘Paradise’ comes from an old Iranian word ‘paridaya’ meaning ‘walled enclosure’. Does this mean that we perceive paradise as an isolated space existing behind tall walls? Our homes, places of worship and even our vehicles may evidence of efforts to create a paradise, an escape from dealing with the realities of the outside world.
My show “Paradise”, addresses the societal turmoil of Trinidad & Tobago in particular, showcasing a paradise, suspended at a point in time when it is being fractured by violent crimes, drugs and corruption. Guns, cutlasses and mechanical objects of destruction are recurring motifs in my work, representative of a dystopian utopia. Violence, crime, corruption, the drug trade and other contemporary issues affect the rapidly changing Caribbean landscape and need to be discussed. Present political and social factors can result in an environment that allows complacency and ignorance to run rampant, having serious implications for the development and future existence of our Caribbean society.