If Anyone Knows Why

If Anyone Knows Why...
Digital image on archival paper
Edition of 3
36 x 24 in (91.5 x 61 cm)

I struggle constantly with the notion of identity in my work. I have lived in the Caribbean for nearly 30 years. I have no West Indian heritage so how does my work hold its own in a society that has strong roots to its past? I deal with this by making art about me and my own life experiences. I am affected by what happens in the present and the past. I am shaped by those early life experiences growing up in the UK. The longer I live in the Caribbean, the stronger the desire to link with the past. Time is an important element. How much time rather than money should a person invest in a country to earn the right to a national identity?
I took this photograph one afternoon in my old studio at home. I was angry at the time with the application process to obtain Caymanian status. Part of the process involved publishing my photo in the local newspaper along with hundreds of other people. This allowed any Caymanian the opportunity to write to the immigration board to register disapproval about the applicant as to their suitability. It seemed wrong on so many levels. The photo was shot on a self-timer on the spur of the moment. I wanted to recreate a prisoner mug shot scene. I am holding my advertisement number instead of my name. In the background my timeline instead of height is hastily and angrily drawn and the insulting statement on every applicant’s photo positioned above my head drawing parallels with the biblical custom of naming a criminal with their crime on the crucifix. We all looked like criminals in the photos as if applying for a national identity was a crime in itself.

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