visualise: Ebony Patterson

‘Gangstas for Life’ explores the fashionable practice of skin bleaching within Dancehall culture.The images raises questions about perceptions of masculinity within Jamaican dancehall culture.  The images are deconstructed into stereotypical homosexual beauties, with bleached faces, red glossed lips, glitter and feminine motifs. These images challenge practices of the emasculation  of young black males and question stereotypical standards of beauty amongst genders .The dancehall has become a place of major cultural significance amongst young working class Jamaicans.  It is the community waterhole where one learns about the latest slangs, songs, dances, fashion and social gender practices.

The Dancehall is the belly of Jamaican society that reaffirms, reflects and assigns labels as it relates to social norms or behaviors deemed deviant with Jamaican society, such as homosexual stereotypes This body of work explores contemporary notions of beauty within a Jamaican context. Exploring the grotesque as the sought after beauty. It seeks to examine the dichotomy between Jamaican stereotypical ideologies of homosexual practices and its parallels within dancehall culture, where skin bleaching (whitening) has become trendy and fashionable primarily among young black males. This work raises questions about body politics and gender, gender and beauty, beauty and stereotyping, race and beauty, beauty and the grotesque.

–  SeeLine Gallery


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