In 2012, we launched the Drake Lab, which expanded upon our Artist in Residence programme in providing free street-side open studio to artists and collectives to create, play and explore. This summer, we’re very excited to re-launch our pop-up space with Marlon Griffith.
Marlon Griffith started his artistic practice as a Carnival designer – a “’mas’ man,” as Trinidadians would call him. Now based in Nagoya, Japan, this Trinidadian artist has travelled the world creating work situated at the intersection of contemporary art and public performance, creating new images and narratives from the costumes and ceremonial rituals of the Caribbean carnival tradition.
Griffith has created street processions for Gwangju (7th Gwangju Biennale, 2008), Cape Town (CAPE09, 2009), MANIFESTA 9 Parallel Projects (Hasselt, Belgium, 2012), AICHI TRIENNALE (Nagoya, Japan 2013) and upcoming in London for the Tate Modern and in Toronto for the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU).
While in Toronto until Wednesday, July 9 to begin production on his AGYU-commissioned street procession for the 2015 Parapan Am Games, Griffith will have an public studio in the Drake Lab, and be engaging the Queen West community in the "Powder Box" Project.
Inspired equally by the talcum powder thrown at fetes by Carnival revellers as well as a commentary on conspicuous consumption, Griffith has created intricate stencils of imitation international luxury brand logos that are then adorned on necks, as a means of bringing to the fore a dialogue and critique on the ever-widening divide between the classes.
Besides having an open studio, the Drake will be hosting a Sunday Sky Yard Art Party in the Sky Yard on Sunday, June 15 from 3 to 7PM, with Griffith in attendance and DJ Nino Brown of Yes Yes Y'All. As well, Griffith will be staging a “Powder Box” installation in the Drake Lab on Saturday, June 21, as part of the Drake’s Nuit Rose programming. Griffith’s installation will be open to the public from 7PM until late, alongside a massive balloon sculpture by Sean Rooney on the Drake’s façade.
Marlon Griffith's Toronto project is curated by Emelie Chhangur, Assistant Director/Curator, AGYU. In July and August, the Drake’s curatorial team will be programming two-week long studio residencies by artists and collectives in the Drake Lab.