The multimedia installation I propose for my upcoming residency at NLS will unpack my Jamaican maternal grandfather’s very first memory of his mother leaving him when he was four years old to migrate to New York City.
This current project began with my interview of him on the subject, during which he shared that (despite being left with a family who took care of him from the ages of four to six, when his mother returned), there was still a deep chasm that he could never fill.
Memories and perspectives from the individuals and families in the flux of migration are vital sites of knowledge which can help create a shift towards an inquiry into the human impact of this Caribbean legacy. Such perspectives can engage a larger conversation about deeper social impacts beyond economic discussion that largely focus on "brain drain".
This installation project at NLS is a personal pilgrimage, exploring my family’s memories and histories of Jamaica, a space that I do not know. The result will be an intimate portrait of the anxieties, fears and dreams which surround migration.
Through this residency I will transform the NLS exhibition space into something which feels reminiscent of a living space. Using discarded, broken objects acquired during my time in Jamaica I will create a room with two windows made out of video projections. With audio from my conversations with my grandfather looped and videos edited from footage shot during the residency, I will connect the complexity of emotions within my family’s genealogy to contemporary realities around migration and loss.
Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe is Grenada-based artist of Jamaican decent. She has exhibited her work across the Caribbean at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (Trinidad and Tobago), The Fresh Milk Art Platform (Barbados), SO((U))L HQ (Jamaica) and other spaces. She received a BA in studio art from Smith College (Northampton, MA).
Risks and challenges
Malaika will be using part of her residency time to retrace some of her social roots and locations. Based on the time that has passed since her grandfather and his mother migrated it will be a challenge to track some of their distant relatives. However, because of the scope of her project, which is also rooted in exploring space and place (and not just social ties), these challenges will not pose a significant threat to the manifestation of the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)