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Phillip Thomas – Selves Portrait 2015

Phillip Thomas – The Other Side of Now is the Same Side of Then, 2019

Phillip Thomas’ recent paintings often feature a central male figure looking out at the viewer while being ensconced or surrounded by the signs of luxury, wealth and social mobility. Sometimes the figure also appears as a silhouetted shape. It is often unclear if this figure is at odds with his surroundings; a product of the environment or; another of the objects within these partially ambiguous spaces. There is also in the picture, allusion to the sympathies held by our protagonist as he wears the colours of and is surrounded by symbols of Garveyism. I read Thomas’ images as projections of possible futures, aspirations, new realities and challenges to representation of the black male. Thomas is based in Jamaica and teaches in the Painting Department at The Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts.

– Oneika Russell

The ‘Artists To Know’ feature began as a part of the Instagram Takeover that we partnered with Residency Unlimited on during the period of protests over public monuments, racial injustice and other calls for political paradigm shifts (June 19th). It is our wish to further showcase a growing list of Caribbean artists that are doing work and have done work that is both critical and timely. Find out more about Phillip Thomas’s work on Instagram @phillipthomasartand The National Gallery of Jamaica’s website.
 

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