The work lies in the cultural and racial styles that have ideological traits associated with class and success within the Caribbean and also within Black culture. It speaks about the assimilation and self-erasure of black identity to conform within a Eurocentric society in favour of economic survival. Our society is ever changing from the influence of America and our growing tourism industry, and in turn, the perception of masculinity is one of those aspects that is transforming, albeit, ever slightly within our culture.
This perception stems from a feminine viewpoint, a society that is nurtured by women and powered by men, and a culture that is influenced by countries as close as America and as far as Africa. If this image of the Bahamian male is changing, how does he look? I intend to explore this new representation of “Bahamian” and “man” and unpack social and personal nuances about what this present or future depiction can hold.
Within the [white] space of the gallery, the black body, emphasized on brown paper, projects an unchanging reality to his race. His gaze and clothing all seek to contextualize his identity, reminding the viewers of what is and what can be. Inviting an all-encompassing gaze, audiences are asked to challenge their relations to the black body, questioning their stereotypes and assumptions about the black male body. At the same time, the piece questions the realities, truths and untruths that come with being black in the 21st century and how much of those are written from the viewer, the artist and the figure.
Kachelle Knowles (born 1990, Nassau, The Bahamas) is a contemporary artist who explores the ideas of gender identity, cultural preservation/ production, and social relations within the black community. She received her bachelor’s degree in illustration at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. She is currently working as a practising artist in Nassau, The Bahamas. In 2011 Knowles was awarded the POPOPstudios ICVA Junior Residency Prize.