Close friends and family warned Christopher Udemezue that he was essentially risking his life by visiting Jamaica as a queer person, given the country’s reputation of violence. Upon his return from a successful trip, Udemzue questioned his mother about why she’d been so afraid for his safety. In turn, she told him stories about growing up poor in Kingston in the 1970s and the daily turmoil that politics in the country’s capital caused in her life.
Duppy reflects Udemezue’s complex longings and projections of nostalgia toward his and his mother’s homeland, Jamaica. From November 7 through December 21, Udemezue will create a sculptural installation made from printed images, resin, found objects, and audio recordings of conversations with members of the artist’s personal circle that delve into the issues of race, misogyny, homophobia, family lineage, and ancestry.
Emerging from Caribbean folklore, a “duppy” is an evil spirit. For Udemezue, duppy describes the unseen––or ghostly––way in which trauma and economic oppression are passed on. “The ghetto never just becomes the ghetto overnight,” says Udemezue. “Systems of oppression make ghettos.” The pressure to culturally assimilate felt by immigrants ensures that important stories of political and economic survival remain hidden. Instead, Duppy brings these stories to light. Participants are invited to engage through a series of workshops on the immigration and legal histories of the Caribbean and healing generational trauma.
On view: November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024
Marcela Torres and Assembly
September 14–November 10, 2023
KING COBRA and Hue Hallums