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Charles Campbell, as it was, as it should have been,  2020, Wil Aballe Art Projects

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Charles Campbellas it was, as it should have been,  2020, Wil Aballe Art Projects

as it was, as it should have been looks at two moments in Campbell’s art practice. Work produced between 2009-2012 draws from images of sugar production and Jamaica’s slavery/early post slavery carnival traditions. His more recent work projects the history of the Jamaican Maroons, escaped slaves that fought and won their autonomy from the British, into future possibilities.

Bagasse, a large 19 ft x 6.5 ft black and white painting of the trash left over after sugarcane cultivation dominates the largest wall of the exhibition space. Bagasse references the proto-capitalist economy of the sugar plantation and acts as a metaphor for economic systems that view society and human relationships as bi-products. Actor Boy prints 1&2 provide a counterpoint to these capitalist degradations, refiguring an image from the Jamaican Christmastime carnival celebration, Junkanoo, into an elaborate floral motif.

Maroonscape 1: Cockpit Archipelago  is a map inspired by Jamaica’s Cockpit Country, an area with hills, ridges, and deep valleys, where enslaved Africans and their descendants, known as Maroons, settled after escaping the plantations. Jamaican Maroons used the tough landscape of Cockpit Country as a natural defense against the colonizers. Maroonscape 1 reimagines Cockpit Country as a model for a city of the future—a place where resourcefulness, imagination, and community confront the temptations of power and complicity. Maroonscape 2: Yet Every Child translates the birdsong from species endemic to Cockpit country into an urgent message about growth, destruction and change from Octavia Butler.

Together these work takes on a journey of reinvention and searches for meaning amongst brutality, compromise and resilience.


Charles CampbellBagasse, 2009, Acrylic on panel 300” x 78”


Charles CampbellMaroonscape 1: Cockpit Archipelago, 2019, Mat board and wood, Edition of 3


Charles CampbellActor Boy IV, 2009, Oil on canvas 48” x 48”