Pictures from Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography

Rodell Warner, Stacey Tyrell, Alex Smailes, Radcliffe Roye, Ebony G. Patterson, O'Neil Lawrence, Roshini Kempadoo, Marlon James, Nadia Huggins, Gerard Hanson, Abigail Hadeed, Gerard Gaskin, Renee Cox, James Cooper, Holly Bynoe, Terry Boddie, Marvin Bartley, Ewan Atkinson

Pictures from Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography seeks to examine the ways in which contemporary photography has evolved within the English-speaking Caribbean, rising beyond idyllic scenes to tackle more intricate issues. Within the past few years, regional artists working with the medium of fine art photography have provided increasingly searching images of the Caribbean and the people who inhabit it. In recognizing that the region is not the picture-perfect paradise of traditional depictions, these artists focus instead on what is not easily seen or that which is often ignored—the complex social, racial, political, and physical relationships and landscapes that exist within the Caribbean.

Pictures from Paradise features the work of 18 artists from seven Caribbean countries who vary in the ways in which they frame, stage, manipulate, use, and reuse images. Based on the 2012 book of the same name by Robert & Christopher Publishers, the exhibition is structured by four photographic genres: “The Documentary Image” celebrates the interrogative attitude of photographs; “Portraiture” challenges our understanding of the emotive subject; “Transformed Media” hails digital processes; and “Tableau Vivant” depicts constructed scenarios.

The works are presented within four adjoining shipping containers alongside Lake Ontario, inviting contemplation about issues of consumerism, globalization, tourism, migration, and the ever-present legacy of slavery in Caribbean history. Placing the works outside of the typical exhibition space of a gallery also signals a different type of storytelling, one that responds to, and moves beyond the limited narratives around a Caribbean “paradise.” It explores Caribbean identity in a way that addresses the important question posed by Stuart Hall, the celebrated Jamaican/British cultural theorist: “If you are not that, who are you?” 


Organized with Wedge Curatorial Projects Presented in partnership with Robert & Christopher Publishers and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.  Supported by Canada Council of the Arts, the Ministry of Tourism, Trinidad & Tobago and Giant Container Services.

Curated by Melanie Archer, Mariel Brown and Kenneth Montague