Monday, March 12, 2007


Check out the details of Graham Fagen's solo show at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. TART introduced Graham's work to the West Coast in 2004; an internationally-renowned artist who was included in Scotland's inaugural participation in the 2003 Venice Biennale. He has recently shown at Tate Britian and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London amongst others.

Start Date : Thursday 15 March 2007
End Date : Monday 28 May 2007

New work by Graham Fagen produced following his research trip to Jamaica in 2006. Downpresserer was commissioned as part of a year-long programme of events run by Glasgow City Council to mark the bicentenary anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, and part of the exhibition tells the story of the attempts of Robert Burns, who was appalled by the slave trade, to become a bookkeeper on a plantation in Jamaica.

Downpresserer exemplifies Fagen's ongoing interest in combining elements of Scottish national heritage (such as the writings of Robert Burns) with that of the West Indies (Jamaican reggae). The title of the show, comes from the song Downpresser Man by the celebrated Jamaican musician Peter Tosh (1944-87). A photographic portrait of Tosh's mother, Mama Tosh, is included in the exhibition alongside a video installation of an impromptu performance of Robert Burns's poem Slave's Lament. Fagen made both these works on a research trip to Jamaica in 2006.

An important starting point for the work in Downpresserer is the documentation of Burns' attempts to travel to Jamaica to become a bookkeeper on a sugar plantation in 1786. The success of his first book of poems improved his financial circumstances and made him change his mind. Alongside his new work, Fagen has included screenprints, Nancy, Bell and Roselle, which depict ship illustrations in newspapers used to advertise the passages that Burns intended to take. Downpresserer presents aspects of Scottish and Jamaican culture against the background of Scotland's role in the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th century.

Fagan has said of the work made in Jamaica that, 'It is such visuals and primary experience that form the roots of the exhibition, bringing the “other side” of the story back to Glasgow for the 200th anniversary of the abolition of trans atlantic slavery'.

The opening will feature a commissioned performance by The Parsonage.

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