While living in Jamaica as a youngster the Caribbean sea never played a huge part in my conscious life, it always in the background. Although not directly seen I was always aware of its ever-presence. I knew, unconsciously, that I could go to it whenever I wanted. And that it would always be there for me.
Andrae Green is based in Springfield, MA
I have vivid memories of my father taking our family to Kingston Harbor and watching the young boys jump off the docks into the abyss. They had such a fearless trust in the sea that I never knew, and it always fascinated me. Their leap of faith-inspired me. They were doing something that I was never able to do, as I have almost drowned three times while learning to swim. So I on the other hand have had a healthy respect for large bodies of water.
Since moving to Western Massachusetts, I no longer have access to the sea. And whenever I go to it here in the summer month it is never warm and inviting but cold and unfriendly and unfamiliar. This has created a longing in my soul for the familiar. Wanting to reunite with the sea has bled into my work as I have recently embarked on a body of work that explores these ideas.
The works were initially inspired by the COVID quarantine, subsequent lock-down, and loss of freedom. I wanted to create work that captured a sense of longing for freedom and escape. The oil drawings, as the name suggests, are about weightlessness and freedom. These works are inspired by bodies of water and the Caribbean landscape.
Water is a metaphor for the weightlessness and freedom of the abyss. It is about a leap of faith.
A Far Cry From Africa (excerpt)
…Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again
A waste of our compassion, as with Spain,
The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
– Derek Walcott (1930-2017)
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