1001 Pl. Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montréal, QC H2Z 1H5
Tyshan Wright is an artist from the historic brown town of Accompong, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica who lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
His work has been acquired by the Nova Scotia Art Bank and presented in exhibitions and artist talks at galleries and museums across Canada, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. In 2021-2022, he is artist-in-residence at the Institute for the Study of Canadian Slavery at NSCAD University.
Approach and works on display
Wright is a “Jamaica Gleaner” or a Keeper of Jamaican Maroon Heritage. That is, he is a descendant of Africans from the Akan region of Ghana who resisted slavery and escaped capture and established independent communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica in the 1600s.
His work with traditional instrument making and cultural objects explores the possible intersection of traditional brown craftsmanship and so-called contemporary art work. Beyond the erasure of memory and geographical distance, Wright seeks to restore a link between the Maroon cultures of the Caribbean and the Afro-Canadian culture of Halifax. He is particularly interested in a group of Jamaican Maroons exiled to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1796.
Working primarily with wood and natural forest products, he creates representations of Jamaican maroon ceremonial objects that celebrate the legacies from the Caribbean resistance to the African-Canadian resistance.
MYAL – Gumbe II, Rackla, Shaker and Sankofa (2021)
The Maroons’ most sacred objects include a series of traditional drums, and a carved cow’s horn called an abeng. Traditionally, these instruments are used in celebration and ceremony, and for centuries they have played a central role in Maroon culture and spirituality. But when Jamaican Maroons were exiled to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1796, they were denied their ceremonial instruments.
And so I bring these sacred objects back to Nova Scotia, connecting that important part of the Maroon culture to the Canadian and African diasphoric narratives. Using primarily wood, fabric, and natural forest materials from three countries, I work to rebuild the Maroon’s history across cultures – from our Ghana’s origins to Jamaica’s Trelawny Town’s forced exiles, and to Halifax.” – Tyshan Wright