While my Jamaican lineage is fact, my relationship to the island and my ancestry has felt very distant at times. My physical body represents a continued familial story, but my personal connection sometimes feels tenuous. This photo depicts a reunion of my family in Kingston Jamaica in the summer of 1962, around the time of Independence. My father is the young boy kneeling on the right side of the photo with my grandmother nearby, but most of the people in this image passed away without me knowing them.
In this work, I confront my feelings of disconnection to these elders and ancestors by exploring material permeability and unraveling (the hand-removal of threads from the cloth). Simultaneously, I anchor myself to our shared connections of land (the seeds), sense memory via food (tamarind candy from which I pulled the seeds), and culture (the plaid pattern referencing Jamaican madras cloth).
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alexandra Beaumont is a textile artist and dancer. She was born and raised in South Carolina to a Jamaican father and American mother, both working musicians. She attended the residential South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities throughout high school, focusing on dance and visual arts, and went on to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she studied fashion design. After working in New York City as a menswear designer, she returned to a fine arts practice, motivated by her love for fabrics and hand sewing. She now lives in Minneapolis, MN, where she makes work centering themes of personal reconstruction, community, and celebratory display. Her first solo exhibition “Version” was presented at Ridgewater College in Minnesota in the fall of 2022. She is a 2022 recipient of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council “Next Step Fund” grant, and a 2023 Forecast Early Career Project grantee. She is a member of PF Studios in Minneapolis, MN and contributes to the development team of Public Functionary, a gallery, performance space, and café supporting BIPOC and LGBTQ artists in the Twin Cities.
© Alexandra Beaumont