Kehinde Wiley, 2013
World Stage Jamaica
An exhibition on colonial dynamics between Jamaica & Britain.
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK
Photography by Sesse Lind
Shot in Jaimaca and Brooklyn
In October 2013, Stephen Friedman Gallery presented ‘The World Stage: Jamaica', Kehinde Wiley's first ever UK solo exhibition. 'The 'World Stage', Wiley's vast and celebrated body of work, previously focused on Brazil, China, Israel, Nigeria, Senegal and Sri Lanka, with exhibitions held in museums and galleries in Europe and the USA.
The exhibition featured Jamaican men and women assuming poses taken from 17th and 18th Century British portraiture, the first one in the 'World Stage' series to feature portraits of women. The juxtaposition between the sitter and the art historical references reflects on the relationship between the island and its former colonial power. Wiley restaged this history, transforming the race and gender of the traditional art-historical hero to reflect the contemporary urban environment. The subjects' proud posturing refers to both the source painting and the symbolism of Jamaican culture, with its singular people and specific ideals of youth, beauty and style.