“In my new work I critically evaluate photographs that were donated to the national archives of my home country, the Cayman Islands. Most recently, I have focused on photographs that were donated by the family of C. Bernard Lewis, a deceased British marine biologist who traveled through the Caribbean during 1938. My interest is towards Lewis’s perspective on Caribbean people, which is expressed through the compositions of his photographs. Lewis’s perspective was determined by his position as a privileged, white male who was raised within the United Kingdom. What Lewis viewed as innocent documentation becomes problematic imagery for contemporary Caribbean viewers due to his lack of sensitivity when capturing the identity of Caribbean people. I choose to remake Lewis’s photographs through means of digital editing and physical manipulation that I accomplish through methods of drawing and printmaking. My purpose for remaking these photographs is to reclaim Lewis’s compositions as my own and to develop his misconceived perspective when it came to viewing Caribbean people.
I use newsprint as a material surface for my new work. I am particularly interested in newsprint as a non-archival and easily-affordable material. The paper allows me to become inventive when remaking Lewis’s compositions. I use the paper to create structural folds which further interrupt Lewis’s photograph compositions and create new contexts for the imagery I reclaim.”
– Simon Tatum
Simon Tatum was born in 1995 in George Town, Grand Cayman. Tatum currently lives and studies in Columbia, Missouri and was the 2014 recipient of the ‘Cayman Islands’ Visual Arts and Design Scholarship’ from Deutsche Bank and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. He has shown a solo exhibition within the University of Missouri titled ‘Discover and Rediscover’. He has also been a part of numerous group exhibitions that include, “Open Air Prisons: Las Antillias Para Los Antillianos” at the LACE Gallery in Los Angeles, California and the “Caribbean Linked IV Exhibition” in Oranjestad, Aruba. Tatum was honored in 2016 with an international artist grant from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) and with the Richard M Henessy Scholarship Award. He also has works in permanent collections throughout the US and Caribbean region that include the ‘Atelier 89’ Gallery and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Tatum is currently working on a new series of charcoal prints and mixed media sculptures for his next solo exhibition, ‘Looking Back and Thinking Ahead”. This exhibition will be held at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands in May 2017.