Foreign Agent is proud to present The Jumbee Sea, Lisandro Suriel's first solo exhibition at the gallery. The Jumbee Sea is rooted in magical realism, weaving together mythology and hauntology, building a mysterious and sensuous world featuring otherworldly figures of Black cosmology within a dreamlike tropical habitat. The Jumbee Sea draws from the artist's on-going project Ghost Island, which explores the complex, dynamic and undocumented web of influences of Black Atlantic identity, while contesting the colonial histories of the West Indies, and specifically in Saint Martin.
Lisandro Suriel is a contemporary visual artist born in 1990 in Saint Martin, a child from the African Diaspora, from the Dutch half of the Caribbean island. His photographic journey arose from the need to reclaim his own history and identity beyond the traditional Caribbean narrative framed by the arrival of Christopher Columbus and later by transatlantic slavery. A search for a Black Atlantic identity beyond the colonial scope of slavery: "Who am I? Where do I come from? Where does my story begin? I find myself marooned on an island in a state of amnesia. Here, the only thing I can remember is that I am Black".
Lisandro Suriel's main inspiration has been the stories of ghosts or jumbees as they are known in the Caribbean, who are tied to distant memories from various African lore. As part of the anthropological research guiding his artistic process, Lisandro Suriel started documenting the tales and folklore of his community, forgotten stories, superstition and the engagement with magic forces deeply rooted in nature that feed Black Atlantic identity.
Through the quiet disturbance of lush foliage, rippling water and crashing waves, the uncanny presence of phantom figures and animated masks hiding in nature, we are invited into the unseen, the unheard and the untold of the Black imagination of the Atlantic world. In Suriel's work, fiction and reality undo each other, opening up other ways of knowing. The Jumbee Sea is less about what is known and taught in the history books and more about the "not knowing" and the "unknown" of history and identity; the spiritual, the ghostly, the haunting - what survives after loss. In this exhibition, the artist reconfigures local collective memory by resurrecting lost Black Atlantic voices.
The Jumbee Sea opens on Saturday Feburary 19, 2022, between 2 and 6 pm, also presenting an exclusive short film by the artist that recently won Best Experimental Film at the New York Indie Shorts Awards. On view until April 23, 2022.