CHARLES CAMPBELL: as it was, as it should have been

Sept 24 – Nov 21


Please join us


as it was, as it should have been

Open house-style first day launch: SAT, SEPT 24, 12-5 PM

Book a 15-min appointment to ensure no waiting and entry at a specific time.

Please contact:


Wil Aballe Art Projects | WAAP

1129 East Hastings St.

Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3

Hours: Tu – Sat, 12-5

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 Campbell is a Jamaican-born multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator. His work investigates non-linear concepts of time and the future imaginaries possible in the wake of colonization using painting, performance, sculpture and installation. His work has been exhibited widely including at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Havana Biennial, the Brooklyn Museum, the Santo Domingo Biennial and Alice Yard in Port of Spain. Campbell holds an MA in Fine Art from Goldsmith College and a BFA from Concordia University. He currently lives and works in Victoria BC.