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Paradise Revealed - Launch of Pictures From Paradise

Mariel Brown, co-editor of Pictures from Paradise

The coffee table book Pictures from Paradise received its Jamaican launch on Friday, June 8, 2012 at Bookophilia on Hope Road. The book, edited by Melanie Archer and Mariel Brown and published by Robert and Christopher Publishers features the work of 18 artists  from seven countries.

Brown explained to those gathered for the intimate launch event that Pictures From Paradise intends to explore the contemporary Caribbean condition through the eyes of its artists. “The images are not nostalgic” she said. In a quick interview with Brown further explained that Pictures from Paradise provides an avenue for work that is relevant but not widely seen.

Pictures from Paradise received its premiere in April in Trinidad and Tobago in April as a part of the Bocas Literary Festival.  Both editors noted that the book has been warmly received. “People were very appreciative,” Brown said. “A lot of them have said that this is a very timely book. Interestingly, the book contains the highest concentration of artists from Jamaica (7) and Trinidad and Tobago (4) and both countries are commemorating their 50th year of Independence in 2012. The book therefore does provide a timely lens through which to view the Caribbean.

Archer further explains that in conceptualizing Pictures from Paradise, the team was keen on ensuring that it could be affordable, which influenced the decision to produce a soft-cover book. “We made a decision to make sure that the books weren’t too precious,” she explained. “We wanted to make sure that they were affordable but well designed.” 

Archer points out that the most important thing is to ensure that it is a work of quality. “I think that if people in the region keep putting out things of sufficiently high standards, we can access a much wider market,” Archer argues.

Richard Rawlins was the book designer explained that putting the book together was easy as he was so easily inspired by the photographs themselves. He also explains that O’neil Lawrence’s essay which places the works in context made the design even easier. ‘Once I actually had the essay in hand, the thing that I wanted to do was link all the photos together,” he said.

Pictures from Paradise features the works of O’Neil Lawrence, Marlon James, Radcliffe Roye, Ebony G Patterson, Gerard Hanson, Renee Cox, and Marvin Bailey (Jamaica); Rodell Warner, Alex Smailes, Abigail Hadeed, and Gerard Gaskin (Trinidad and Tobago); Stacey Tyrell and Terry Boddie (Nevis), Roshini Kempadoo (Guyana); Nadia Huggins and Holly Bynoe (St. Vincent and the Grenadines); Ewan Atkinson (Barbados) and James Cooper (Bermuda).