Family Matters

© Courtesy of Cydne Jasmin Coleby and cadet capela
© Credits photo: Thomas Marroni

Cydne Jasmin Coleby

December 19, 2020 — January 30, 2021

54 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris

Cydne Jasmin Coleby grew up in a large family and today her work is strongly linked to her relatives. In photographic compositions, Coleby depicts members of her family in ceremonial postures or in a daily life of wonderful nonchalance.

One of Coleby’s relevance lies in the fact that she uses collage to integrate elements of self-portraits into the faces and bodies of the protagonists of these everyday scenes. Thus, she assimilates herself to family members, living or dead, and shows compassion and empathy towards them. It is in this way that she enters into communion with her ancestors and siblings and finally comes to make peace with her history, accepting family losses and other wounds of the past. By incorporating her own image into these traditional family portraits, she makes their temporality relatively indefinable. She thereby conjured up her belief system of the relationship between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

To these collage-enhanced compositions are added pieces of fabric, printed patterned paper, white sand from the Bahamian beach, paint, watercolor, all of which recall the Bahamian cultural patchwork and the diversity of Caribbean lifestyles.

Cydne Jasmin Coleby is a Bahamian artist born in 1993, she lives and works in Nassau, BS. Family Matters is her very first solo exhibition.

cadet capela

It’s common to suppress emotions that are difficult to process - to run from what we fear. No matter how inescapable the truth, denial is eminent. We sweep these painful realities under rugs leaving obvious mounds that we insist on walking around. We hang paintings over emotional holes in the walls of our hearts, being careful to never shift them and expose the abyss. But no matter how much we try, these mounds will grow, and holes will widen until we address them. No matter how far we run, the distance will never be enough and our legs will grow weak.

The Covid pandemic granted me a moment to confront unaddressed trauma. Being forced into constant close proximity with family allowed me to view them in ways that before seemed impossible. I noticed how past traumas had manifested themselves in the present actions, both within them and myself. I was able to bridge gaps in our personalities, sighting that we all shared similar strengths and weaknesses as a result of generational conditioning and environment; nature and nurture personified. This internal tethering ushered in a deeper connection with my family, both past and present.

Family Matters is an exploration in confronting generational/familial trauma. Acting as both a voyeur and the subject, I begin to unearth family skeletons with curiosity and sensitivity, holding space for unnurtured pain, and honoring the resulting scars. Inspired by family photographs, I collage various elements of my image on to stylized depictions of family members to illustrate empathy for these experiences and understanding for the traits we may share. Matters once kept between family are being laid bare, so that our experiences are no longer seen as a point of shame, but rather a sign of honorable resilience and strength.

Cydne Jasmin Coleby