Going back to look closer at lines and spaces and elements at Visions 2018

L - from photo by Keno George, R - from photo by Amanda Richards
Rat hole
"Oh , dat is what we does call de rat hole". .. the women laughed. They were selling on the road. I had the notes from Visions 2018 in my hand and I showed them. I  asked them if they knew about Oxygen Arts Gallery. They said that people had been asking for directions. I explained where it was, on the road over the bridge.

The first time I visited , I did not listen to the curator , Karran Sahadeo. Or rather, I did not read the notes properly. I have been preoccupied with encounters where I did not listen , and which I wish I could go back and do over. I am also feeling bad at a mess I created for a client who is a poet and artist , as I have to do over the work for her and pay attention to composition, and lines and spaces though not for photography.  So even though it is raining, I am making the second visit.

The photographs are arranged in clusters which are not in genres of portraits, birds, landscape etc.

Marceano Narine (above), Jennifer Prashad (below)
I am drawn to these two photographs. The night sky is the subject of the first one I think, but I curious about the light in the trees. The vast sky and sea in the bottom one are appealing - I had just come from the seawall. The top picture, the trail leads to treess, enclosed forest and freedom is probably the whole night sky. The bottom picture, the jetty at Werkenrest leads out to this wide vast sea. I don't spend as much time on the other pictures in this cluster. I wonder though, if they were placed differently.

So, I learn positive space is the space occupied by the subject, and the negative space is the empty space which is around the subject. Or something like that. So I understand the space around the birds, and the deer, and the Macushi man. The space around the nurses (or the one nurse facing the camera?) though has all kind of things in it which are interesting. The fifth photo has a political march in the negative space, unless the political march is part of the subjects.

The shadows of the headdress in Indigenous Way 1 by Keno George are interesting. The face is stoic and not moving. Other images in the cluster - the old building, the young woman are stoic in a way. Dawn Dance 1 by Darrell Carpenay though is moving. The water is pouring down, while the birds (not visible here) are moving up and up. This is one of the images I am drawn to.. not sure if it is because of the ups and downs in life..which sounds corny.. but..

Yep, competition in the bird racing, the rodeo , the masquerade at Mashramani. Michael Lam explained on my first visit that the lights of the diyas could be seen to be competing with each other.  I could not see that. The connection between this picture and the masquerade though, children participating in Guyanese cultural traditions. And politics in my head, as the birds and the bulls in competition are always caged, tied, not free. While perhaps the lights, and the masqueraders are free.

Birds in cages, covered are juxtaposed against birds rising out of Kaieteur Gorge, and another bird feeding. Two boys raking grass are in front of a smoky background which looks like the atmosphere on an African belt.  I am not seeing other connections though.. but then again, I don't have to !

So I go online to try to understand the two elements in a photograph. I thought at first there were two things in the icture.. like boats and birds, or woman and wall, or hands and fruit.. but I suspect it is more. I find out the elements could be two of  line, shape, form, texture, pattern, space and colour. 
So the Ibis on the prow of the boat to the left stands out first, because of the space .. and then the lines of the boat come down to the other two to the bottom right? Or the hair hands converge to the fruit?  And the woman's clothing with all of the colours of the wall behind her, while the depth on her face contrasts with the flat wall behind her? The two old cinemas.. the shadows of teh broken or old wood give more depth than say if it was a brand new structure with some uniform reflection of light?

What's the point?
My head kind of hurts at this point, as I did the exercise of listening to the curator and the photographers, with their guidelines. This subject is new to me. Every now and then, we need to go out of our comfort zones, or in my case, the mental rut. In the mental rut, there is no connection between diyas and a bird contest, or for the nurses near a food stand and a man dressed in his cultural wear.  Visions 2018 offered me  a way out of the mental rut, to get new knowledge and to see the connections , or just to appreciate the individual pictures in new ways. 

Visions 2018 continues until 15 December, 2018 at Oxygen Art Gallery in Industry, East Coast Demerara, (tuesdays to Saturdays, 2pm to 7pm) and then after that until 29 December at Duke Lodge. Check the Facebook event for details   Please go if you get a chance.


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