Visibly Absent: Unease: An 8-Step Programme, by Jaime Lee Loy
"The Bath", a video still from Jaime Lee Loy's Unease: An 8-Step Programme--work in progress
Bio: Jaime Lee Loy was born in Trinidad in 1980. She obtained an honours BA degree at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, with a major in literature and a special in visual arts. She also won a scholarship to pursue her MPhil in literature at UWI, of which she has completed two years of study. She currently works as the exchange programme coordinator at Caribbean Contemporary Arts (CCA), and has been experimenting with video for five years, after exhibiting her paintings in over a dozen exhibitions. Her blog is at jaimeleeloy.blogspot.com.
Statement: Since 2003, my process has moved from producing semi-abstract and surreal paintings to video and mixed-media work that explores social commentary, mainly dealing with issues facing women. Continuously experimenting with media, I am focused on investigating the complex undertones of the female psyche and its relationship to its subjective environment of gender censorship. I am exposing thoughts and attitudes that women are encouraged or forced to hide.
The poetry and screenplays that I write and the subjects that I film are inspired by a innate need to be brutally honest about such exposure. Whatever the medium--charcoal, acrylic, video, or collage--my work is always questioning. Issues of gender are part of a wider construct that subordinates or stigmatises various "positionings" in society, and I hope to spark a discourse that interrogates the foundations of these biases.
Unease: An 8-Step Programme: This project examines the idea of the uncomfortable. It defines states of uneasiness and uncertainty as integral to creativity, self-awareness, and critical thinking, and interrogates societal and individual dependency on fixed answers, ideas of enlightenment, fixed truths, and the need for security. I believe that most acts of violence and confident shows of prejudice and hate are born out of a political or social position that is stagnant, too fixed, and deceptively comfortable.
This video will investigate a "Grey Area" through a satirical eight-step programme. The eight steps to normalcy--or eight steps to being a natural or ideal woman--will reveal and question the psychological after-effects women face when trying to fit themselves into a life or a role they do not desire. The motif of a measuring tape recurs throughout the video, deconstructing the act of measuring, defining, and labelling women and their roles in society. The eight steps will be ironic, with an underlying tone that presents an in-your-face, uncomfortable platform from which to discuss these ideas, instigating a re-thinking of former myths and accepted "truths" about what being a woman represents.
Although women's rights, gender studies, and feminist activism suggest that these issues are quite visible, female angst is still stigmatised as "bitterness", rather than seen as an expression of circumstance, and a call to alleviate inequity. Unease gives glimpses into the problematic side of the female gender structure, such as eating disorders, notions of chastity, the demonisation of women's sexuality as a system of control, and some women's humble acceptance of these unjust boundaries.
Unease: An 8-Step Programme will be screened at Alice Yard, 80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, on Friday 15 September, 2006, from 5 to 8 pm; Saturday 16 September, from 11 am to 6 pm; Friday 22 September, from 4 to 8 pm; and Saturday 23 September, from 11 am to 6 pm.
Jaime Lee Loy photographing Sabrina Charran for the multimedia installation Unease: An 8-Step Programme
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