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Melissa A Matthews
San Juan, Q
Neighborhood: Flatbush



ARTIST STATEMENT: As I write this, I am struck by the fact that my art is expat art. I was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York with a decidedly Trinidadian flair. As a first-generation American, I never felt fully American nor fully Trinidadian. When I lived in the U.S., my art and life were distinctly Trini. I was particularly interested in negotiating a space and life for myself that was innately tied to my West Indian culture and roots. My lens, my politics, my creativity—the three pillars of my work—were colored by being an outsider investigating the West Indian existence as an outlier of the diaspora. Three years ago, I moved to Trinidad & Tobago, having claimed my citizenship by descent and built a life here. I have never felt so American. My lens, my political interests, my creative pursuits are now incisively and purposely in tuned with my American-ness. Moreover, my identity as a Black American Woman living abroad and at home simultaneously. Wrestling with the hopelessness of these facts. As an expatriate with the luxury of two passports and two homes, the work that is presented in this portfolio investigates the maddening right to have an opinion on the goings-on from a plane ride away but the inherent inability to make "meaningful" change or have an impact apart from impassioned pleas on social media and two-week visits rallying behind those doing the "real" work. It is a commentary on the guilt of leaving mixed with the reverance of self-preservation that made me do so.
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  • Yam, Banana, Dumplin' & Dasheen: Yam & Banana
    2016
    Mixed Media Collage

  • Yam, Banana, Dumplin' & Dasheen: Dasheen & Banana
    2016
    Mixed Media Collage

  • Demise of A Queen Pin: Surveillance
    2016
    Photo collage
    The Demise of A Queen Pin Series is an exploration of the pre-school to prison pipeline that currently plagues black children in the USA.

  • Yam, Banana, Dumplin' & Dasheen--The winners
    2016
    Mixed Media Collage

  • Des Bon Bons Et Fleurs: Flowers for Mikey (detail shot)
    2016
    Mixed Media Collage

  • Layered
    2016
    Pen & Ink on Paper

  • In-progress #5
    2014
    Digital illustration

  • In-Progress #4
    2014
    Digital illustration

  • In-progress #3
    2014
    Digital illustration

  • Demise of A Queen: The Raid
    2016
    Photo collage
    The Demise of A Queen Pin Series is an exploration of the pre-school to prison pipeline that currently plagues black children in the USA.

  • Demise of A Queen Pin: The Capture
    2016
    Photo collage
    The Demise of A Queen Pin Series is an exploration of the pre-school to prison pipeline that currently plagues black children in the USA.

  • Demise of A Queen Pin: The Mugshot
    2016
    Photo collage
    The Demise of A Queen Pin Series is an exploration of the pre-school to prison pipeline that currently plagues black children in the USA.

  • Demise of A Queen Pin: The End of the Road
    2016
    Photo collage
    The Demise of A Queen Pin Series is a satirical exploration of the pre-school to prison pipeline that currently plagues black children in the USA. This deeply personal photo collage essay inserts my t

  • Pavements 1
    2013
    Digital Painting
    An abstract work examining and contrasting the urban environments of my two homelands. A realization of my goal to create a functioning space in which to operate between them.

  • Pavements 2
    2013
    Digital Painting

  • Pavements 3
    2013
    Digital Painting

  • Pavements 4
    2013
    Digital illustration

  • Erect 1
    2013
    Pen & Ink
    large scale abstract architectural inspired drawing

  • Erect 2
    2013
    Pen & Ink
    large scale abstract architectural inspired drawing
 








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