Christina Leslie is an artist based in Toronto, On, CA. Leslie earned her BFA in 2006 at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. In June 2022, she will have obtained her MFA from the Savannah College of Art in Design. Much of her photographic practice centers around the themes of decolonialism, race, identity, cultural representation, the Caribbean Diaspora, history and memory. Leslie has had an extensive international exhibition career and her photographs have been featured in numberous publications. Leslie is also part of the Silverwater collective, a group of ten female photographers founded in 2020.
Sugar Strapped encompasses the history of the sugar and slave trade. Historically, the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade is associated with African American slavery and history. However, captured enslaved Africans were forced and used for “free” labour and brought to the Caribbean to be brutalized for capital gain by White Europeans. Being of Jamaican heritage, it is crucial to speak about this as few are aware of the implications this industry had on the Islands. Yet, so important, and integral to the Caribbean Black Diaspora, this is a chronicle that is rarely acknowledged.
Sugar Strapped explores the materiality of sugar in its bleached granular form to reference the “white-washing” of this account. Using personal archives of Jamaica and intermixing them with new images constructed from using models, costumes, props and re-appropriating pro-slavery literature I am producing photographs that are made from sugar. The overall process is painstaking and speaks about the “enslaved hands” behind the sugar trade. Fascinated by the tactility of sugar, the viewer can imagine the texture without ever touching it.
Sugar is so sweet but the tale behind it is so sour.
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