Paul Anthony Smith creates paintings and picotage on pigment prints that explore the artist’s autobiography, as well as issues of identity within the African diaspora. Referencing both W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness and Franz Fanon’s theory of diasporic cultural confusions caused by colonialism, Smith alludes to fences, borders, and barriers to conceal and alter his subjects and landscapes. Smith’s practice celebrates the rich and complex histories of the post-colonial Caribbean and its people. Memory, migration and home are central to Smith’s work, which probes questions of hybrid identities between worlds old and new. Smith’s layered picotage is often patterned in the style of Caribbean breeze block fences and modernist architectural elements that function as veils, meant both to obscure and to protect Smith’s subjects from external gaze. While photography typically functions as a way in which to reveal and share information, Smith’s picotage has a concealing and purposefully perplexing effect.
Forcing these nuanced diasporic histories into a singular picture plane, Smith encourages layers of unease within these outwardly jovial portraits. Picotage serves as an access point as Smith interrogates which elements of identity are allowed to pass through the complexities of borders and migration.
The lecture will take place on Thursday, November 30, from 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building, Room 110. This event is free and open to the public.