Hadriana dans tous mes rêves | Kwynn Johnson
K. Adele Okoli reviews Johnson's drawing in "Hadriana in Muscular Monochrome: Kwynn Johnson’s Queer Dreamscape of Jacmel."
This graphite drawing on vellum (2’ x 3’) was produced on-location in Jacmel, Haiti. It was exhibited as part of a series of 19 other drawings. The exhibition was titled How the Light Enters, and shown in both Jacmel, Haiti and in Port of Spain, Trinidad in 2013. Hadriana dans tous mes reves refers to the title of René Depestre’s novel, set in Jacmel at the Manoir Alexandra.
The fictional Hadriana is represented in this drawing in the contemporary period, not as a dead bride, but a living Jacmelian woman who hauls a crocus bag of charcoal upon her head. Women in Jacmel continue to carry out a variety of laborious tasks each day. They participate in the economics and daily logistical business of life in significant ways. Alongside these women, Hadriana upends and disables gendered notions of labor. Hadriana is active and autonomous, and walks away from the Manoir.
Dr. Kwynn Johnson is a Trinidadian visual artist and a Haitian Studies Scholar. Since 2003, Johnson has had 8 solo exhibitions. She has also exhibited in several local, regional and international group shows, in countries such as Guadeloupe and New York, and in spaces such as the Alliance Française in Haiti, the Tate Modern in London, several Haitian Studies Association conferences, and the past three consecutive editions of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince. Johnson’s visual arts scholarship in the field of Haitian Studies has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Caribbean Quarterly (2016), and the UWI Seismic Research Centre (2011). Her works over the past ten years have been an exploration of themes of trauma & visuality, and place & meaning in Caribbean Cultural Geography. Johnson is currently a part-time lecturer at UWI (St Augustine), teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She maintains a studio practice in both Republics: Trinidad and Haiti. Her current art exhibition titled Place as Palimpsest [Yon kote tankou Palimpseste] is based on Cap Haitien and will be shown in Trinidad, Jamaica and Haiti (2017).