Neville Murray

Artist's Statement

My art reflects the experiences that I have encountered in my life. As a Jamaican who currently resides in Nebraska, I can clearly see the importance of "one's art to one's culture." Being a native of Jamaica my art deals with issues that confront Africans in the Diaspora, from the poise and dignity reflected in the proud but poor Caribbean market vendors, to the positives as well as the despair and addictions that take place in our inner cities, to simply evaluating our place in the 21st century.
Through my art I try to express issues that relate to my history, including slavery, loss of identity and Language, and how this experience manifests itself in the 1990's.

My art is influenced by the impressionist, as well as contemporary African American and Caribbean artists. In my paintings I try to explore how strokes of color comprise the art work. The use of light is influenced by impressionism, but has a whole different effect in that the subject matter deals with African American, and Caribbean themes and issues. More recently I have been exploring the passage of time in my works and how light changes as time moves on.

I currently am employed as the Multicultural Art Manager for the Nebraska Arts Council and as such I am fortunate to work with various cultural groups in Nebraska, including Native American, Hispanic, Asian and African American populations. I am continually enlightened by the similarities between cultures.

Because of these experiences I feel it is very important for me to record and document my own heritage, specifically western Jamaica and it's rapidly changing environment.

When I was in high school attending Munro College in the Santa Cruz mountains my Grandmother still walked five miles to market (Newmarket) with a tub on her head to sell wet sugar. The market served as a repository of oral traditions and history. Through my art I strive to keep our proud Jamaican heritage and culture alive.

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