Tina Maria Dunkley at the Wilmer Jennings Gallery 1/16-3/16

Tina Maria Dunkley (photo credit: Jerry Siegel)

The Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba (219 E. 2nd Street in Manhattan) is presenting a wonderful exhibit titled "Sanctuary for the 'Internal Enemy': An Ancestral Odyssey" by artist Tina Maria Dunkley from now until March 16th. In this multimedia solo exhibition, Tina Maria Dunkley traces her maternal Trinidadian ancestry to the War of 1812.

"Aunt Jemima Laments Leaving Plantation" (2018)

In her artist's statement titled "...On the Battlefield till I Die," Tina Maria Dunkley wrote: "From the moment I learned about the maroon societies in the Western Hemisphere, their narratives of courageous resolve to overcome their oppressors captivated my attention.
From the exhibition "Sanctuary for the 'Internal Enemy'"

"The Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia, Nanny of the maroons in Jamaica, the Haitian revolutionaries, and the hundreds of thousands of Quilombolas residing in the hinterlands across Brazil were alluring annals of resistance. To discover decades later that my family descends from comparable communities was a revelation. A letter describing their harrowing escape from a Virginia plantation on April 18, 1814, verified by their names appearing on muster lists of British naval ships of the same day, was a twilight zone in history.

“Shanklyn’s Declaration,” 2018

This exhibition is a response to the mystical incidents that occurred leading to this exhibition and the resilient community of maroon descendants thriving in South Trinidad, here and abroad."

The piece called "Shanklyn's Declaration" (2018, Silkscreen textile) contains the written words of former slave Bartlet Shanklyn in the white stripes of the American flag, with a faint image of chains replacing the stars. In May 1820, Bartlet Shanklyn wrote to his former owner, Abraham Hooe. Shanklyn had escaped slavery and was among the 3,400 formerly enslaved people who fled from the Chesapeake region during the War of 1812. Most of them resettled in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Trinidad. Some of the words in the piece read: "When I was with you [you] treated me very ill and for that reason I take the liberty of informing you that I am doing as well as you if not better. When I was with you I worked very hard and you neither gave me money nor any satisfaction but since I have been here I am able to make Gold and Silver as well as you... P.S. My love to all my friends. I hope they are doing well." Take a look at the original letter from Shanklyn here.

The Jennings Gallery was full of well-wishers and admirers of Ms. Dunkley's during the opening reception on January 20th. Jazz pianist Manikin Wantanabe and double bassist Juini Booth provided delightful musical accompaniment for a thoroughly artistic afternoon.

Jazz pianist Manikin Wantanabe and bassist Juini Booth

On February 16th at 3:00 pm. there will be a "Gallery Talk" with the artist.

Visit Tina Maria Dunkley's website at www.tinadunkley.com.

Enjoy this clip of a video installation titled "Manifest Odyssey" (2015-18):


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