Prior to his performance at Arnolfini, Lawrence Graham Brown tells us more about his work and ideas...
What can we expect from ?!. (For the Love of Man)?
What to expect? Nude black men, scents of the tropics, a range of emotion, questions answered and a new quest for the love of man - or hate perhaps!
Could you tell us a bit about your background? How did you first get into performance?
I started performance through my visual art work. Most of my visual art was text based, then a curator visited my studio and asked me to read some of the text for her and she filmed me reading, and it dawned on me to use my work as script for larger theatre works.
How do you develop a piece? What do your usual working methods involve?
Well for instance the piece I am developing for Arnolfini is this continuing persistent theme using the Black body as it still creates a range of emotions and one that to many authorities needs to be controlled, consumed and all those other things...
Juxtaposed against swinging lights referring to black and white, light and dark, good & evil, death and life etc, using various scents, rum, incense, cinnamon, nutmeg, fire, to evoke a sense of religiosity and ritual while worshiping a love for another man and at the same time leaving the work opened to different interpretations.
The first part of the performance will pay homage to the forty-nine beings massacred in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016: it will be entitled 49.
How do you feel about being included in the Jamaican Pulse programme?
I am very excited yet cautious. Being a part of this platform working with different folks and meeting a lot of supportive people of my work is so refreshing. I am the only artist that is not supported by the National Gallery of Jamaica in this show so I am coming in as a total outsider! And if you know the politics of Jamaica, perhaps as persona non grata - but somebody has to tell the stories!
What’s next for you?
I may go to Aruba for a special production and I am currently working on my next production Lawrence Graham-Book of Misdemeanours a live art variable media production for 2017 in New York.
I will be included in a permanent online art exhibition curated by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, The Franklin Furnace and NYU libraries that will reflect on performance on the last four decades which will assist in the long term historical preservation of my work and make it accessible to viewers around the world.
?!. (For The Love of Man) will be performed at Arnolfini on Sunday 26 June. It is part of 'Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora' which will take place through the summer at the Royal West of England Academy (further details here).