This article concerns itself with a new body of work by Jamaican artist T’waunii Sinclair. The work utilizes the machete, in some respects a common, everyday implement but one which is imbued with all manner of associations, some challenging (for example, the British media’s reference to machetes as code for Black criminality). Other associations, ones that Sinclair is keen to advance in his work, relate to the African diaspora, Caribbean history (particularly that of Haiti), and the machete as a symbol of enslavement and a tool in insurrections against slavery. The article places Sinclair’s work into several machete-related contexts and considerations. While a machete is not an expansive surface on which to execute a figurative painting, Sinclair achieves a copious amount of expression in these works, creating images that range from cartographic depictions of Hispaniola to an insurrection in progress to sets of eyes expressing horror, terror, or surprise. Through these images, the cultural life of the lowly implement is given the most dramatic range of fillips.
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Research Article| November 01 2022
T’waunii Sinclair and the Ongoing Cultural Life of the Machete
Nka (2022) 2022 (51): 112–127.
Eddie Chambers; T’waunii Sinclair and the Ongoing Cultural Life of the Machete. Nka 1 November 2022; 2022 (51): 112–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-10127223
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