The “creation” of Jamaican national identity owed much to the artistic movement that preceded and followed independence in 1962. While depictions of the peasantry, particularly male laborers, have become iconic representations of “true” Jamaicans, the scholarship surrounding these works has conspicuously ignored any erotic potential inherent in them. Using the contemporaneous, mostly private homoerotic photographic archive of Archie Lindo as a point of entry, this essay questions and complicates the narrative surrounding nationalist-era art in Jamaica, particularly the ways the black male body was mobilized in the development of Jamaican art and visual culture.
Through Archie Lindo’s Lens: Uncovering the Queer Subtext in Nationalist Jamaican Art
O’Neil Lawrence is the chief curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica. He has curated more than thirty-five exhibitions, including the critically acclaimed Seven Women Artists (2015) and Masculinities (2015–16). His research interests include race, gender, and sexuality in Caribbean and African diasporic art and visual culture; and memory, identity, and hidden archives. He has contributed essays to publications on Caribbean art and sexuality, most recently the edited collection Beyond Homophobia: Centring LGBTQ Experiences in the Anglophone Caribbean (2020).
O’Neil Lawrence; Through Archie Lindo’s Lens: Uncovering the Queer Subtext in Nationalist Jamaican Art. Small Axe 1 November 2020; 24 (3 (63)): 143–163. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-8749830
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