galvanize graphics by bruce cayone

Monday, August 28, 2006

Visibly Absent: A Walk in the Park, by Gerard Gaskin

At the core of Galvanize is "Visibly Absent", a series of nine artists' projects. This is the second in a series of notes on each artist and his or her project.

gerard gaskin walk in the park 5

Untitled (2001), from the portrait series A Walk in the Park, by Gerard Gaskin

Bio: Gerard H. Gaskin was born in Trinidad and Tobago and currently lives in New York, where he works as a freelance photographer. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Newsday, Black Enterprise, King, Teen People, Caribbean Beat, and DownBeat Magazine. His clients also include record companies like Island, Sony, Def Jam, and Mercury Records. Gaskin's photographs have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum of Arts, the Black Magic Woman Festival in Amsterdam, and Imagenes Havana in Cuba. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York, the Queensborough Community College Art Gallery, and the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture. For more information, see

Statement: The main objective of Galvanize is to have a full conversation about art with the people of the Caribbean. My conversation is about sexuality: what do we do with it, and are we going to have a real, true dialogue with it? My hope is that the people who look at my photos will have that conversation with my work. I would also like for the gay population of Trinidad to see gay men and women somewhere else in the world looking back at them with pride and dignity.

A Walk in the Park: These photographs are portraits from my ongoing project about the Balls in New York City. The Balls are a celebration of black and Latino urban gay life. They were born in Harlem in the 1950s out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves. Balls are constructed like beauty and talent pageants. The participants work to redefine and critique gender and sexual identity through an extravagant fashion masquerade. Women and men become fluid, interchangeable points of departure and reference, disrupting the notion of a fixed and rigid gender and sexual make-up. My images try to show a more personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage and grace that has been painfully challenged by mainstream society. All of this happens at night in small halls around New York City.

A Walk in the Park will run from 15 to 27 September, 2006, at the Tattoo Farm, Long Circular Road, Maraval.


Anonymous Aaron Lee Fineman said...

As if anyone ever needed a reason to go to Trinidad. Well, if you did, here is a great one. Go and see this show, at least go and see Gerards photos. the jpg's online don't do them justice. Wish I could go. Way to go Gerard.

9:33 PM, September 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic, I love how s/he is bursting out of the frame with vibrancy, Aaron is right how the jpegs do not do it justice, are there any more images online? Great work Gaskin! --Jason Gardner

12:52 PM, September 02, 2006  
Anonymous Prof. Edgar Rivera Colon said...

This is a perfect example of the power of two art forms meeting: the art of the Ball scene and the art of a socially engaged photographer like Gerard Gaskin. The result is a woman who is stunningly beautiful commanding the view of whoever takes time to look and appreciate her. A beautiful Black woman who has labored to be seen just like this in a society that tries to make her invisible. Gerard's formal decisions about black and white photography and the undermining of our concept of framing are indicative of his gifts as an observer and interpreter of the Ball scene. Trinidad is lucky to count this native son amongst its many talented artists scattered throughout the four corners of the globe. We are happy to have him in New York City documenting a cultural space created by the communities of the African diaspora that allows us to be who we are and live in the radiance of our own forms of dignified resistance. Kudos to Gerard and the curators of the show.

3:05 PM, September 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've followed Gerard's work for some time now and he gets better and better with each shot he takes. Great job!

Best regards
*Hassan K.

10:08 AM, September 03, 2006  
Blogger Hotchoqlit said...

Having seen some of Gerard's work I'm thrilled to see this exhibition is happening. The only thing that would make me happier is being able to go to T&T and see it! Good Luck Love!

10:07 PM, September 04, 2006  
Anonymous Celeste Frontin Maxwell said...

Gerard makes you feel his photos and puts his heart into his work. I have been blessed to see Gerard in action as his art takes life. Each shot he takes it as important as the first and he treats each person he photographs with care! Gerard Gaskin is a work of art! You have got to see his work up close and in person!

11:48 AM, September 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marie Gaskin Capers said......

This is a perfect example of the power of art. You have to truly see them in person. The jpg's online do not do them justice. Great job Gerard looking foward to seeing more from you.

5:14 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Jaime Lee Loy said...


i got around to reading an interview you did some time ago and it answered the conversation we were supposed to have. I find it very interesting the way you have photographed a section of society you do not belong to and have done so without exploiting them for mere subject matter. You have veered from turning them into the exotic other which is to be recognized and applauded. You really have preserved their integrity, dignity and therefore leave little room for the 'condemnors' in your audience. You photographs demand respect for your subjects and the sensitivity and genuine observations through compassion reflects in your work. And in conclusion ' we go bounce when you come back in March! Peace!'- Jaime Lee Loy

7:16 PM, October 10, 2006  

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