Beach Dress
Subject:Fashion, Portraiture

This dress is inspired by costumes used in traditional African
dance that were carried to Jamaica through the African people
that were dragged there. Christmas time was one of the few
occasions in which enslaved people could congregate and
celebrate their lives publicly. One of the traditions they upheld
was the Jonkunnu parade where men would dress in costume
and sing songs and perform dances relevant to the occurrences
of the year. It was a coded performance with many layers specific
to their experiences. With this performance they could say all that
they needed to say. They could share what was usually hidden.
With my dress, I tell the story of my life through images. I began
this project with portraits of myself and my maternal grandmother.
She was born in Jamaica and her grandmother came from China.
Some of my illustrations draw from traditional Chinese aesthetics.
The scale shapes on the dress evoke fish or dragons. Many of the
drawings are of food and plants from Jamaica.

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