The Davidoff Art Initiative (DAI) announces that Jamaican artist Leasho Johnson has been selected as the first artist to participate in the new DAI residency partnership program at Residency Unlimited (RU) in Brooklyn, New York, beginning this fall. Johnson will be in residency from September through November 2016.
The Davidoff Art Initiative supports artist residency programs around the globe aimed at cross-cultural dialogue. DAI Program Manager Albertine Kopp explains, “In our work to provide more visible platforms for Caribbean artists and greater opportunities for creative exchange, we are looking for different cultural partners with different angles around the world. Residency Unlimited, located in the dynamic community of Brooklyn is a great fit for us and we are very excited to see how the residency in New York will influence Leasho Johnson’s work in the future.”
Through hands-on production and technical assistance, talks, and other public programs, Residency Unlimited has established itself as a creative hub in Brooklyn for international artists, curators and collaborators. During his residency Johnson will be expanding upon on his body of work, which aims to redress what he sees as a distinct lack of global understanding of traditional Jamaican Dancehall culture, despite it largely defining the international perceptions of Jamaican identity. His practice incorporates various media and formats such as ceramics, mixed media, murals, street art, graphic design and found objects.
“Jamaican Dancehall culture is vibrant, dynamic, and oftentimes controversial. It is relevant to contemporary Jamaican youth and informs political, social and racial views in Jamaica,” says Johnson. “My current work attempts to elucidate both the hidden wildness within this aspect of Jamaican culture and my own place in society as a gay man from rural Jamaica.” Using original characters he has named ‘Pum-Pum’ which act as exaggerated mirrors of male and female gender roles found in Dancehall culture, Johnson juxtaposes imagery grounded in traditional realism with that of stylistic cartoons to highlight the differences in the two styles.
- Leasho Johnson
- Leasho Johnson