JACQUELINE BISHOP

Current Show Feature:

AVAILABLE ARTWORKS & EDITIONS

Jacqueline Bishop
Fauna (Cup & Saucer, Sugar Pot)
2024
digital print on porcelain, gold lustre
various dimensions

Recently acquired by the Harris Museum, April 2024

FAUNA

Jacqueline Bishop’s interdisciplinary practice is focused on making visible the ephemeral, in speaking aloud the unspoken, in telling untold stories and voicing voicelessness. Bishop is acutely aware of what it means to be simultaneously an insider and an outsider having lived longer outside of her birthplace of Jamaica than on the island itself. This has allowed her to view a given environment from a distance.

Fauna arises out of Bishop’s long-standing questions about the position of black women in Caribbean society. Her first collection of poems published in 2006, also titled ‘Fauna’, used Caribbean flowers as metaphors to explore the lives of enslaved women. Bishop sees this new commissioned work as a visual manifestation of these poems. Further research revealed that prior to the ending of the slave trade there was no attention given to either the maternal health of pregnant women or their babies.

Where and to whom did enslaved women turn when they were trying to conceive, could not conceive or found themselves with unwanted pregnancies? The answer lay in the plants, flowers, fruits and herbs of Jamaica. Each one contained a unique botanical element that could either end an unwanted pregnancy or encourage fertility. In Fauna Bishop has surrounded the women and their children with healing and protective herbs. Indeed, in one case, the mother is offering her child up to the arms of the natural environment.

Fauna was commissioned by The Harris and will go on display when the museum re-opens in Spring 2025. Unveiling overlooked and brutal histories of slavery and colonialism, Bishop’s work is an important acquisition for The Harris’ ceramic collection. Creating dialogues with other pieces in The Harris’ collection, most importantly an oil painting recently identified as ‘A Jamaica Landscape’ (c. 1774), attributed to George Robertson, Bishop said that her work “intervenes in the idyllic presentation of slavery and enslavement of the painting to present enslaved women using the environment to shield themselves and their children. Both works speak to each other.” Both works will be displayed together as this timely acquisition will play an integral part in a new display exploring the global history of tea, weaving together histories of British Empire, Colonialism and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Jacqueline Bishop (b. 1971, Kingston, Jamaica) lives and works in New York and Miami, Florida. Bishop worked with Emma Price; a British ceramicist based in Stoke- on-Trent in the former Spode factories in the realisation of this new work.

Recent exhibition solo exhibitions include British Art Studies, Paul Mellon Center, London (2022); SRO Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (2018); Meyerhoff Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland (2016). Recent group exhibitions include The Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia (2024); Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Ontario, CA (2024); Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2023); Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA (2022); British Ceramics Biennial (2021); Stoke-on-Trent (2021) and Jamaica Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica. Kingston (2017).

Jacqueline Bishop
Keeper of All The Secrets
2023
digital print on commercial porcelain
various dimensions
1/3 edition

Currently on view in Richmond, Virginia as part of Ferrin Contemporary’s exhibition, Our America/Whose America?, on view through April 21st, 2024

Jacqueline Bishop’s tea service, The Keeper of All The Secrets continues her series of porcelain plates, tableware and textiles based on the most known Caribbean image, the Market Woman. The first works in the series, a series of plates History at the Dinner Table was followed by The Market Woman’s Story

These works draw from deep research into the role and position of black women in Caribbean society and their images in paintings, prints and photography. The Market Woman first crossed the Atlantic from West Africa as an enslaved individual and played a critical role in Atlantic World societies. Using the source imagery, Bishop’s collages weave together histories of the British Empire, Colonialism and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The porcelain tea service, The Keeper of All The Secrets and Fauna intentionally use the forms themselves to make the point that enslavement, colonialism and the trade economy of sugar, tea and slavery which gave rise to luxury commodities, were enjoyed and enjoined in the colonies and Europe. The forms: teapots, cups, saucers, cream pitchers, and sugar pots use the collaged images in overglaze print transfers on fine china, outlined by hand in gold and silver. Combining historic botanical imagery with depictions of enslaved West Africans and Indigenous people, The Keeper of All The Secrets focuses on the moment when the enslaved woman met the Indigenous woman to exchange information and knowledge of botanicals. Fauna portrays women with their children surrounded by the floral botanicals that were used to protect them. 

Jacqueline Bishop

Jacqueline Bishop
The Market Woman’s Story
2022
digital print on commercial porcelain
8.75 x 12.25 x 1″ (each)
set of 15 plates
1/3 edition

On one hand, the market woman/huckster is the most ubiquitous figure to emerge from plantation Jamaica. Yet, as pervasive as the figure of the market woman is in Jamaican and Caribbean art and visual culture, she remains critically overlooked.

In this set of fifteen dishes, I am both paying homage to the market woman – centering her importance to Caribbean society from the period of slavery onwards – placing her within a critical context. In particular, I place the market woman within a long tradition of female labor depicted in diverse imagery that I have sourced online, including early Jamaican postcards, paintings of enslaved women from Brazil, the colonial paintings of the Italian Agostino Brunias, and present-day photographs, which I collage alongside floral and abolitionist imagery.

I work in ceramics because all the women around me as I grew up – my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother – cherished ceramic dinner plates. These were centerpieces kept in one of their most important acquisitions, a specially made mahogany cabinet. To fabricate the plates, it is important that I am working with Emma Price, a British ceramicist based in Stoke-on-Trent in the former Spode factories. In the realization of the series, that connection imbues them with a meaning that shows the long and enduring relationship between England and Jamaica.

My hope in doing this work is to give much respect to the market women of the Jamaican and larger Atlantic world who have fed, and continue to feed, nations. The market woman is the defining symbol of Jamaica and Caribbean societies.

Jacqueline Bishop

Jacqueline Bishop
History at the Dinner Table
2021
digital print on commercial porcelain
11″ diameter (each)
1 / 3 edition

As a little girl growing up on the island of Jamaica, Jaqueline Bishop’s grandmother had a large mahogany cabinet where she kept some of her most prized possessions: her bone china crockery. These delicate pieces were painted with bright, cheerful images of palaces and carriages and were only used on special occasions. 

As beautiful as these china dishes were, they often hid a violent history of slavery and colonialism by European countries. In ‘History at the Dinner Table’, Jaqueline changes the story by showing the legacy of slavery on the dishes instead. Despite their violent history, Bishop is also seduced and charmed by the delicacy and beauty of bone chinaware and she has sought to produce dishes equally as beautiful as the ones made by major European centers of bone china production. The work is exhibited in mahogany cabinets as mahogany was once a major luxury import from Jamaica to England.

British Ceramics Biennial, in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

“Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance”
Featuring Jacqueline Bishop’s, “History at the Dinner Table”
On view through January 7, 2024

Location
Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street
Cambridge
CB2 1RB

Listen to the interview on the BBC

ABOUT


b. 1971, Kingston, Jamaica
lives and works in New York, NY

 

Jacqueline Bishop is an accomplished writer, academic, and visual artist with exhibitions in Belgium, Morocco, Italy, Cape Verde, Niger, USA, and Jamaica. In addition to her role as Clinical Full Professor at New York University, Jacqueline Bishop was a 2020 Dora Maar/Brown Foundation Fellow in France; 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow in Morocco; and 2009-2010 UNESCO/Fulbright Fellow in Paris. Bishop has received several awards, including the OCM Bocas Award for her book “The Gymnast & Other Position”, The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short story writing, The Arthur Schomburg Award for Excellence in the Humanities from New York University, A James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship, as well as several awards from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. Jacqueline’s recent ceramic work consists of brightly colored bone China plates used symbolically in Caribbean homes and explores how they hid the violent legacy of slavery and colonialism in the Atlantic world.

ON HER WORK

My work focuses on making visible the invisible, in making tangible the ephemeral, in speaking aloud the unspoken, and in voicing voicelessness. In so doing, I engage with such themes as pleasure, desire, sexuality, memory and exile (and their concomitant absence, loss, erasure and silence). My practice is interdisciplinary and increasingly trans-disciplinary. As someone who has lived longer outside of my birthplace of Jamaica, than I have lived on the island, I am acutely aware of what it means to be simultaneously an insider and an outsider. This ability to see the world from multiple psychological and territorial spaces has led to the development of a particular lens that allows me to view a given environment from a distance. Because I am also a fiction writer and poet as well as a visual artist, the text and narrative are significant parts of my artistic practice.

EXHIBITIONS

Ferrin Contemporary presents Paul Scott in "Our America/Whose America?". Installation for NCECA Richmond, 2024 at the Wickham House at The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

Ferrin Contemporary presents Paul Scott in “Our America/Whose America?”. Installation for NCECA Richmond, 2024 at the Wickham House at The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA. Image courtesy of The Valentine Museum.

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

2024 | Group Exhibition in the Wickham House at the Valentine Museum | Richmond, VA

February 20, 2024 – April 21, 2024

Our America/Whose America? Is a “call and response” exhibition between contemporary artists and historic ceramic objects.

View the exhibition page HERE  & View the historic collection HERE

Jacqueline Bishop, “History at the Dinner Table”, 2021, digital print on commercial porcelain, 11″ diameter each

BLACK ATLANTIC: POWER, PEOPLE, RESISTANCE

2023 | Group Exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum | Cambridge, UK
September 8th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024

Which stories get remembered, and why?

This exhibition explores some new stories from history – stories that help us to separate fact from fiction and history from myth.

View the exhibition page HERE

Our America/Whose America? Installation View, 2022

OUR AMERICA/WHOSE AMERICA?

2022 | Group Exhibition at Ferrin Contemporary | North Adams, MA
August 6th, 2022 – October 30th, 2022

Our America/Whose America? Is a “call and response” exhibition between contemporary artists and historic ceramic objects.

View the exhibition page HERE  & View the historic collection HERE

CATALOGS

JACQUELINE BISHOP: The Market Woman’s Story Catalog with Video

August 23, 2022 | Published by British Art Studies

Jacqueline Bishop explains her process and approach to her series of 15 plates depicting collages of Jamaican market women throughout history.

View The Market Women’s Story on British Art Studies.

NEWS & MEDIA

Politics on a plate: how ceramics became a tool for satire and protest | Financial Times, 2024

A new exhibition celebrates the ‘Trojan horse’ of the decorative arts

The plate might seem a benign part of daily life, but its ubiquity can be a secret weapon for artists. Over the centuries, they have used its humble form and decorative glaze work to satirise wars, condemn slavery and call for social change. Plates are the “Trojan horses” of the decorative arts, says British ceramic artist Stephen Dixon. “Everyone is familiar and comfortable with ceramics, so you can seduce people with a pretty plate, then let your subversive message flow out.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Jacqueline Bishop’s The Market Woman’s Story | Jamaican Observer, 2022

In talking to someone recently about the new set of plates I had completed, The Market Woman’s Story, in which I traced the figure of the huckster, higgler, vendor from the period of slavery until today while enveloping her in fruits and flowers, he pointed out that my first collection of poems, Fauna from Peepal Tree Press, had a section that did a similar thing, for in it I was using local Caribbean flowers to tell Jamaican women’s stories. I suddenly realised that I had a long history of using floral imagery to represent female concerns.

For many years I was a closet visual artist, though the work I did produce beginning in primary and high school was always about plants and flowers. I remember once, for example, as a wee thing at John Mills All-Age School, that I got transported while drawing repeatedly the roots of fat sugar cane stalks. It was the most wonderful feeling. Over the years I kept drawing and painting in secret: gigantic blue flowers. But I kept putting visual art to the side all the way through high school and my undergraduate years, though, unfailingly, I would take visual art classes here and there, but never quite centring art in my life. After all, what was one to do with it?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Interview with Jacqueline Bishop | Studio Potter, 2023

 “From the women in my life, I learned the importance of perseverance and hard work. Having work or being a laborer did not exclude one from being a creative individual. My mother, and my grandmother, were all women who worked outside the home, yet they made the most fabulous art pieces, whether it was patchwork or crotchet. They made a place for me in their homes to draw and paint.”

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

Free Thinking: Black Atlantic | BBC Sounds, 2023

In 1816, Richard Fitzwilliam donated money, literature and art to the University of Cambridge, and the museum which bears his name began. A research project led by New Generation Thinker Jake Subryan Richards has been exploring Cambridge’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and he has curated an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam. Artist and writer Jacqueline Bishop who features in this show, joins Jake and April-Louise Pennant, who has been researching the history of Penrhyn Castle in Wales. Plus, Sherry Davis discusses the rediscovery of Black professionals in East African archaeology.

Producer: Ruth Watts

Black Atlantic: Power, people, resistance runs at the Fitzwilliam until Jan 7th 2024.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE

INQUIRE


Additional works may be available to acquire, but not listed here.

If interested in lists of all works and series: Send us a message