Olivia McGilchrist | Ernestine and Me series
A double take on contemporary Jamaican life for a returning white female of part-Jamaican origin; after discovering that my jamaican great-grandmother Ernestine was black, in a family photograph found at my late grandfather’s house in Jamaica last year.
Quote from article ‘Perspectives on Blackness in the 2012 Biennial‘ by Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Senior Curator, National Gallery of Jamaica :
The video installation features McGilchrist’s masked alter-ego “Whitey” being manipulated to various extents by a range of people representing contemporary Jamaican archetypes; the Rastas, the hot girls, the couple, Ms. Chin, the foreigner etc. All of these interactions take place- sometimes humorous, sometimes mildly menacing – while in the background is a photo of McGilchrist’s racially mixed paternal grandparents and their children, including her great-grandmother Ernestine, in a Jamaica of long ago.(…) Legacy proves a double-edged sword, it is a luxury, a privilege, and a curse, a sort of weight that threatens to limit self-actualization even as it offers opportunities (…)