Un|Fixed Homeland, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, 2016 Catalog: Un|Fixed Homeland - Page 48

Marlon Forrester b. Guyana 1976 Born in Guyana, Marlon Forrester now lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. His photographic collages, many of which are self-portraitures as seen here, are a direct commentary on the body, particularly the black male body, and the role historical forces have had in shaping their identities. His use of furniture as sculptural objects along with self-portraiture addresses the remnants of slavery and colonialism throughout the Caribbean diaspora. Vitualamen Sculpture, 2011 features the artist directly holding and engaged with a melon. His choice to use an object of food is a reminder of the role of agricultural production for commercial export as a central component to colonial economies based in slave labor. The dominant colors of green and yellow found in the national flag of Guyana are appropriated in the colors of the melon and used to mirror “the simultaneous construction and dismemberment of my body,” states Forrester. The adoption of the national colors of what the artist calls his “ancestral homeland” may also be his way of questioning what, for the Guyanese immigrant, constitutes nationalism. The artist abstracts the male body, segregating its parts by only showing the viewer his arm and hands ho lding the melon. Although it is a very personal look at his own body, Forrester connects what he sees as a binding “history of displacement of the black body in both America’s and Guyana’s colonial slave history.” In drawing from global influences such as these, Forrester forges strong statements about male identity and the contemporary place of the black immigrant body in society. Marlon Forrester Vitualamen Sculpture, from the series, Bball, 2011 Archival print 60 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist 48 49