artist / participant
Pérez Art Museum Miami is pleased to present the mid-career retrospective of Nari Ward (b. 1963, Saint Andrew, Jamaica). This exhibition, Sun Splashed, is the largest survey of the artist's work to date and offers a close consideration of his diverse production.
Sun Splashed examines Ward's career through interrelated frameworks that reveal the ongoing investigations and interests that have guided his work for more than 20 years. It focuses on vital points of reference for the artist, including the dynamics of power and politics, ideas of migration and movement, and place and identity formation. Pivotal early works, such as the installation Happy Smilers: Duty Free Shopping—not seen since it was first exhibited in 1996—are on view alongside a selection of assemblages, videos, works on paper, and photographs. The exhibition highlights the artist's unique approach to material and making, which is defined by its embrace of varied mediums and, in particular, the use of found objects and assemblage. This methodology imbues Ward's works with a tactile and visceral relationship to history and the real world, and taken together with his labor-intensive processes, gives a particularly charged energy to his objects and installations.
The exhibition's title is drawn from a recent series of photographs that references a Jamaican reggae festival popular in the late 1970s. Moving across distinct time periods and geographies, these images reflect the humor and touristic clichés implied in their titles, but also suggest a more complex understanding of the relationship between place and selfhood, particularly in "sun splashed" tropical locales. Self-conscious destabilization of meaning and keen attention to context run throughout Ward's practice and open up the possibility for new perspectives on the pressing questions that inform our place in the world.
In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, on Saturday, November 21, at 2pm, Ward and exhibition curator Diana Nawi will deliver a eulogy for artworks that have been destroyed over the course of Ward's 20-year practice. This performative talk is a meditation on labor, leisure, and remembering.