Praxis is pleased to present I Left A Piece of My Story In A Green Glass Bottle Of Hope, a solo exhibition by the artist Simonette Quamina. The show will be open from Thursday, March 9th to Saturday, April 8, 2023.
The opening reception will be on Thursday, March 9th, from 5 to 8 pm.
We are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm, at 501 W 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011.
I Left A Piece of My Story In A Green Glass Bottle Of Hope by Simonette Quamina (b.1982), is a love letter written in a Caribbean visual language. Composed of diverse collage and printmaking techniques, including woodcut, chine-collé, collagraph, and embossment layered over one another, Simonette Quamina’s large-scale collage prints speak to the artist’s intersectionality and multicultural background. Growing up within the borders of Canada, Guyana, Saint Vincent, and the United States, the artist examines themes of migration patterns, displacement, and labor within the framework of Afro-Caribbean spirituality and esthetics. The monochromatic dark gray tones simultaneously obscure and reveal intimate narratives by compelling viewers to actively see and thus engage with the work more profoundly.
Simonette Quamina’s collage prints are free from the borders of the paper. Layered printing techniques’ arrangements extend beyond each work’s margins, creating a landscape-like form. In Confirmation In Victoria’s Regia (2018), the abstract horizontal silhouette directly converses with the Caribbean islands. Together the results resemble an archipelagic state connected by the medium and Caribbean symbolisms that repeat across, like the jumbie beads in Sing A Song My Little Kiskadee (2018) and Night Gardener (2020). Or the delicately positioned white plumeria flower set in these predominantly dark environments as a slight gesture of hope, rebirth, and new beginnings.
Together these large-scale collage prints address issues brought about by the global north political assertiveness that compels people within the global south to relocate and construct new homes and memories. The compositions are autobiographical imagery in dialogue with the artist’s ancestral memory examining notions of belonging through complex scenes of hybrid domestic and exterior places the artists may have inhabited throughout their migration journey. Within Quamina’s evocative imagery, the faces of the subjects are often obscured or non-existing. These disembodied figures could be open for interpretation as abstracted reconfigured memories Quamina aspires to piece together. Simonette Quamina’s approach to their artistic practice pulls from history, community, and the personal. It draws inspiration from social and political factors directly influencing their family story. Yet, it’s open-ended enough to perform as transparent reflections for others with similar backstories.
Yelaine Rodriguez, NY 2023