Fort de France, Martinique
May 15, 2021 – June 26, 2021
Concerned about social issues, Jérémie Priam often engages in mined fields.
Religion, politics or human relations, Jérémie Priam does not hesitate to tackle sensitive subjects.
Provocative by nature, eternally angry, the Résilience exhibition represents for him maturity and renewal. Very critical of himself and the world in which he lives, he aims for a “de-colonial” approach to contemporary art in Martinique. Far from the “exoticism” to which he refuses to submit, black and white dominate in his practice. Perfectionist, he selects his own works.
For the Résilience exhibition, Jérémie Priam unveils new productions that reflect both social and personal transformation. Resilience can be defined as the human capacity to sublimate a trauma. It is not only the ability to resist shock, but also the ability to transcend, to create through trauma, new hopes. Résilience is therefore in this, a particular form of creation, which draws its source from the atrocious, the unspeakable, the monstrous, to magnify it.
Jérémie Priam offers here a new way of approaching his practice. He gives his work a different resonance. Accustomed to the acid criticism of the postcolonial society in which he lives, the artist prefers, with the Résilience exhibition, to promise constructive alternatives. In this exhibition, he appropriates the myths of Creole society and reveals himself a little more by confronting collective and personal history.
Resilience is a common imaginary presented as a cultural force. The works featured show many problems inherent to a historically difficult “living together”. The importance of the Catholic religion is, among other things, at the heart of the artist’s concerns. He submits here a religious syncretism, a mixture of influences translated by supernatural creatures. They are inspired by popular, mystical, and religious beliefs present in Martinique and Caribbean cultures. Several myths that he appropriates are closely linked to cultural or personal issues, such as the fear of emancipation or poverty. Thus, Jérémie Priam for example makes the relation between Dorlis, a rapist spirit, and the resurgence of forced sexual acts which forged colonial society and that continues. The artist gives us his interpretation of the Soukounian, the Three-legged horse, or even the Antikri. They become for the occasion, the expression of the evils of Creole societies. By conceptualizing them, Jérémie Priam offers a new look at these beliefs that shape our imagination.
Usually dissociated, the physical body and the psychic body, merge and coexist. Jérémie Priam confirms his relationship to death and destruction, while making them poetic and subtle. The symbolism of bones in his work comes into play to demonstrate resilience. He questions a possible liberation from all suffering, by accepting it rather than denying it. In this way, he promises a reconciliation with the history of our symbols, which he generously uses in his graphic productions. Résilience is born here from the acceptance of all spiritual movements. It is notably inspired by “Quimbois” in its etymological meaning “knowledge” (in Kikongo “kimbw”). By becoming “quimboiseur” through his practice, the artist becomes master of knowledge.
Both resistant and resilient, Jérémie Priam is part of the young generation of Caribbean artists. He plays with Creole myths and beliefs to create new thoughts in a changing society. He participates in the development of new aesthetics at the frontier of the spiritual, although deeply rooted in a social realism.
—Pauline Bonnet, associate in visual arts and researcher in Caribbean arts