ANTIGUA PRIDEMonday 23rd December 2013
The Powder Magazine Gallery, English Harbour Antigua
December 1 2013 – March 1 2014
Image: Bendel’s Girl with Bucket, 1970
The Powder Magazine Gallery is delighted to announce its inaugural exhibition, Antigua Pride; Photographs by Margo Davis. Featuring photographs taken on the island between 1967-1973, this series of striking black and white images of the land and people of Antigua, West Indies, were originally published in Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People, published in 1973. It is the first time this series of photographs have been exhibited together and the very first time they have been displayed in the country that inspired them.
Although often moved to photograph the beaches and sunsets, and the shapely old sugar mills and estate houses on the island, Davis is primarily a portraitist. Drawn to the people of the villages that are still dotted around Antigua, much of her early inspiration as a photographer came from the faces captured in this powerful series of images.
Among the faces within the exhibition is the Reverend George A. Weston, a native son of Antigua, whose photograph appeared on the original cover of Davis' first book Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People.
Weston was a man that used to emphasize the importance of 'knowing one's history’; his words inspired the vision for the exhibition, and resonate with Davis' ability to transmit to a contemporary audience the island life of Antigua from the last century.
Davis' early work grows out of the humanistic tradition in photography, following in the footsteps of predecessors like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Paul Strand. Her early focus on Antiguan culture was followed by a life long journey with her camera to photograph many cultures of the world including Nigeria, Brazil, Italy and Japan. Her work is distinguished by the unique connection she forges with her subjects. Her photographs are classic compositions that emphasize human dignity, grace and the quiet heroism she recognizes in ordinary people. Although portraiture is Davis’ main interest, the landscapes presented here are timeless and elegant.
Born in New York City in 1944, Davis started photographing in Paris in 1963. When she lived in Boston in 1966, she met Minor White and worked with several of his students. Returning to California, she began teaching at Stanford University, Academy of Art College and UC Santa Cruz Extension. Since then, she has been living between Palo Alto, California and Tribeca, New York. “Essentially powerful and convincing” were words that Ansel Adams used to describe Davis’ work in 1968. Since then, Davis has exhibited her work worldwide. Since her first book, Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People, published in 1973, Davis has produced several more books, including Under One Sky in 2004 by Stanford University Press.
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