The Elders in collaboration with South London Gallery
Brother Everald Brown and Stanley Greaves
10 March 1999 to 11 April 1999
‘Half the story has never been told’. This maxim, familiar to us all from the music of Bob Marley, haunts the art and literature of the Caribbean. It serves, as Randall Morris, the Jamaican curator and critic says, as ‘a reminder, a lament, a warning, an explanation and as a siren’s song of histories hidden, art unseen, voices unheard.’
Brother Everald Brown and Stanley Greaves are two artists whose work seeks to tell the other half of the story.
Brother Everald Brown, painter, sculptor, musician and seer, is a true ‘Elder’ of the art of the Caribbean. Entirely self-taught, his art is shaped by his complex spiritual beliefs which stem from a Baptist upbringing and his Rastafarian faith. His imagery is full of biblical references, signs, symbols and historical anecdotes. His work has been likened to a hum of consciousness, an extension of Jamaica’s oral and musical tradition. This consciousness finds expression in his exquisitely crafted and painted harps and guitars, instruments designed for communal playing, often with parts for four people or more.
Stanley Greaves is an artist considered to be at the opposite end of the Caribbean art spectrum. Academically trained at Howard University in America, his paintings depict his interest in the metaphysical, an area not usually associated with art practices from outside Europe and America. He says “I was attracted to Surrealism and the Metaphysical school with its exploration of the power of intuition, imagination and dreams…the work of Magritte and De Chirico I found compatible to the problems I encountered in articulating my ideas. My focus is a kind of allegorical story-telling as opposed to painterly effects.” Greaves’ work combines Caribbean iconography and experience with the art historical tradition, primarily, but not exclusively, of Europe.
The contrasting stylistic techniques of each artist belie the interrelated similarities of their work. They share an engaging spiritual dimension, one that is rooted in a Caribbean metaphysic, a common musical heritage, and a unique perspective of the Caribbean, past and present.