Arts Media release

News release: New work addresses African-Canadian identity and how it is shaped by the narrative of slavery.

Karin Jones: body of work, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, April 3-14, 2018.

Karin Jones, a Vancouver-based artist of African-Nova Scotian and German descent, is presenting her MFA thesis work in an exhibition which opens at NSCAD University’s Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, NS, on April 3, 2018, running until April 14. Opening reception: April 3, 5:30-7 pm. Artist talk: April 4, Noon-1 pm.

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The new work, called simply body of work is a series of objects of adornment referencing restraints used during the period of the enslavement of African peoples in the Americas. Made from materials such as rusted steel, dried corn kernels, human hair, and used horses’ reins and bridles, the collars, necklaces and cuffs are mounted with museum-style brass mounts on wood panels. The work questions the ways in which historical narratives shape our identities.

Jones writes in her artist statement: “When I first began this work, the question foremost in my mind was, ‘Why do we wear this identity so proudly?’ It seemed to me that we were constantly returning to this story in an attempt to show our strength as survivors of this horrific period. The symbols of slavery presented as jewellery objects were an expression of this twisted kind of pride. As I went deeper into the work, however, I began to wonder if I was making these objects to express the relief I would feel in taking them off, in shedding the burden of history that has been placed upon me. The answer, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. This ambiguity lends the work its air of mystery.”

Karin Jones received a Diploma in Jewellery Art & Design from Vancouver Community College in 1993. She worked in Jewellery for many years before entering the MFA program at NSCAD University in 2012. Her studies were interrupted in 2013 when she was offered a teaching position in Vancouver. She is now on leave from teaching to complete her degree. Jones is best known for her installation “Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity”, which centres around a Victorian dress made of braided hair extensions, commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum in 2014.

To read a full artist statement, and to view more images, please visit: