The project 'Caribbean Modern' was developed out of the desire to provide a platform for engaging with an over-looked and under-appreciated aspect of Caribbean creative history; design. As a collector of Caribbean art and design for many years, I have found that the story of Caribbean design and designers is often eclipsed by it's fine art counterpart, as furniture making and design were considered more of a craftsman's trade than a high aesthetic pursuit. This project serves to highlight the unique history of design in the Caribbean; a marriage of innovative architectural motifs developed in response to the climate as well as a means of nationalistic expression, and the manipulation of rare indigenous hardwoods and stone.
Caribbean Modern: Jamaica 1920 - 1980 highlights little known furniture makers and studios from Jamaica working in a modernist style. Contrary to the typical colonial and colonial revival style favoured in the region, these makers pioneered their own distinctive design styles using locally sourced hardwoods and locally produced materials. Each decade is represented by a piece of furniture that demonstrates the skill and technique of the maker, and shares the hidden historical narrative of design in Jamaica.