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Social Atrocities: Three Young Artists Speak

Greg Bailey's Recruits

Three young Jamaican artists turned their gaze on Jamaica to uncover the canker sores eating away at the nation. Dubbed Social Atrocities, the exhibition, currently showing at the Olympia Gallery, features new paintings by Kimani Beckford, Monique Lofters and Greg Bailey.

Social Atrocities opened under the umbrella of the recently concluded urban arts festival Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) 2014. 

For Greg Bailey, the focus is the prisons in which contemporary society is housed, and the deceptions that help to build them. In ‘Recruits’ he presents an image of aborted innocents as young boys parade with toy guns, imitating their potential future roles as killers.

Monique Lofters explores beautyBailey’s collection also includes a self-portrait, ‘No Blue Skies’ that reflects a disconcerting degree anger and frustration. The portrait stares down at the room with brooding dangerous eyes that ooze pent up frustrations. Bailey’s contribution to the exhibition also included two studies as well as ‘Tog Dawg’, and ‘Consolid. Ambiguity’. 

Monique Lofters questions beauty and accessories as a form of entrapment in her work. Social Atrocities features four paintings from Lofters: ‘Queenie’, ‘Self Adoration’, ‘Lust’ and ‘Beautiful Cage’. Kimani Beckford beside his portrait 'Red Stripe'

Kimani Bailey focused much of his attention representational politics. Creating portraits devoid of faces, the works highlight how clothing becomes what Marley described as “uniforms of brutality”. The Bodiless outfits move through a dark brown sludge while their background is a chess board highlighting that they are just pieces in a game. Rather than the traditional black and white, the chess board was occasionally green and orange.

Of the series the dyptych ‘Lead Us To’ and ‘Red Stripe’ are particularly striking, however ‘Sinkhole’ which pictures Jamaica as a sinkhole, seemed a little too obvious, lacking the the multiple layers of the other pieces. Kimani Beckford, Monique Lofters and Greg Bailey

Social Atrocities continues at the Olympia Art Gallery, Papine, St. Andrew through to Saturday, July 10, 2014. Kingston on the Edge, ran June 20 - 28, and featured 26 events in 22 venues across Kingston.