Fragments of Epic Memory: Leasho Johnson

Mixed media abstract work of the upper part of a human torso in 3/4 profile wrapped and laced by swathes of colour and shape

Leasho Johnson. Jaw bone (man looking back at the cane fields), 2019. Charcoal, watercolor, distemper, acrylic, oil stick, oil paint on canvas, Overall: 61 × 76.2 × 4.4 cm. Purchase, with funds from Friends of Global Africa and the Diaspora, 2021. © Leasho Johnson. 2021/30

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Fragments of Epic Memory: Leasho Johnson

Tuesday, January 11, 4 pm
Fragments of Epic Memory: Leasho Johnson

Join artist Leasho Johnson for a conversation about his work and influences with artist and National Gallery of Jamaica chief curator, O’Neil Lawrence. Johnson’s work is currently on view in the exhibition Fragments of Epic Memory.

Leasho Johnson is a visual artist working in painting, collage, sculpture and some digital media. He was born in Montego Bay but raised in Sheffield, a small town on the outskirts of Negril, Jamaica. Johnson uses his experience growing up black and queer to explore concepts around forming an identity within the post-colonial condition. Johnson was a 2021 Leslie Lowman fellow and graduated with an MFA in painting from the School of Art Institute Chicago in 2020. He obtained his BFA in Visual Communications at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica in 2009. His works are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Jamaica and noted collectors. He participated in several historic exhibitions, both Caribbean-wide and internationally including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Brazil and the Netherlands. He is a member of the Caribbean Art Initiative and a founding member of the group Dirty Crayons.

An artist, curator, researcher and writer, O’Neil Lawrence has worked at the National Gallery of Jamaica in various capacities since 2008 most recently as Chief Curator. He was the lead curator on the exhibitions Seven Women Artists (2015), Masculinities (2015), I Shall Return Again (2018) and Beyond Fashion (2018). His photography and video work have been included in several international exhibitions; most notably Rockstone and Bootheel (Real Art Ways, Connecticut, 2009), In Another Place and Here (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 2015), and his solo show Son of a Champion (Mutual Gallery, Kingston, 2012). His research interests include race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean and African Diasporal art and visual culture; memory, identity and hidden archives; photography as a medium and a social vehicle. Lawrence’s recent publications include Iconicity and Eroticism in the Photography of Archie Lindo in the anthology Beyond Homophobia: Centring LGBTQ Experiences in the Anglophone Caribbean, UWI Press (June 2020) and Through Archie Lindo’s Lens: Uncovering the Queer Subtext in Nationalist Jamaican Art in SX: 63, Duke University Press (Nov 2020). 

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