Public Gallery 2016

Lua Ribeira

Noises in the Blood began in Birmingham at the beginning of 2015. The work reflects on representations of a particular cultural expression- Jamaican Dancehall, while embracing the impossibility of fully understanding it. The results are the fruit of a cultural collision and collaborative process between myself and a group of British Jamaican women. During these Dancehall celebrations a spectacular representation of Jamaican identity occurs.

I do not intend the images to explain this ritual, but to become the ritual itself. It is an aura of particular mysticism, an idealisation of the colors and the power of their transformations, the reasons why women are more innovative and provocative, with manners that often clash with Western ideas of femininity. Mythological powers, the concept of female divinity and sacredness in Afro-Caribbean culture, were very present in my visual search. Finally, fed by their folklore and my imagination, universal subjects such as birth, love, death and sex are becoming fundamental to this encounter.

The popular Jamaican celebration has been understood since its origins, as a reaction against conventional structures of power and an antithesis of restrictive upper-class culture. In an epigraph of Nanny-Town, a novel that relates the victory of a group of Maroons over the English (Stafford, Reid,1987) the author points out the cultural relativism of knowledge as “One culture's knowledge is another's noise”. I personally engage with that sentence since I am from Galicia, a nation within Spain, which culture has been oppressed along its history, generating a disturbed sense of belonging and a collective lack of self-esteem. These sentiments in relation to the politics of identity made me identify with Jamaican culture, which has had part of its history subjected to the power of others. Consequently, I started to perceive dancehall, as an important current source of culture and knowledge.