Yrneh Gabon Brown

Yrneh Gabon Brown

I create art that reflects the social and political aspects of society in the impoverished communities in Los Angeles and raise questions about the kind of resources and assistance available for advancement. 

 

My deeply rooted desire and passion is to bring about change and visibility through art. Because I know that one can be empowered having the knowledge of what possibilities are available to them without feeling deprived or marginalized. 

My grandfather taught me this poem as a child “Just as the smallest river runs from great and distant springs, the greatest things that men has done came from little things”; (author unknown).  These words have inspired my art practice and process for many years and hopefully in the future. I am determined and reminded to stand for what I believe and be committed in using my art as a voice.

After fifteen years of working as an actor, musician and poet, I was compelled to begin a new journey to express myself in a multi-media format. My inspiration came from the works of the great multi-media artist, Pablo Picasso, painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright; Wangechi Mutu, painter, video artist and sculptor; Joseph Cornell, sculptor, assemblage, avant-garde and experimental filmmaker; Olafur Eliasson, Danish-Icelandic sculptor and large-scale installation artist and Hank Willis Thomas the interdisciplinary artist.  What interests me about this eclectic group is that their work, like my own, takes place at the intersection of construction and theatricality.

My current Project Visibly Invisible includes videos as well as works created in various media – photography, collage, soundscape, assemblage, metal, bronze, and ceramic sculptures. The multi-media presentation of the artwork mirrors my eclectic personal journey. My interest and love for storytelling in both documentary filmmaking and theater has been a conduit for several collaborations that has improved my growth in the arts. I credit my activism and social jobs, whether it be working with Los Angeles inner city living in challenging circumstances or that of bring the plights of people living with albinism in Africa. Both keeps project has helped me to make some major decisions in the last ten (10) years.

My practice most times includes iconographies that examine mythical beliefs and explore the parallels of traditional mythology and symbols.  As an example of this in my work are suitcases; Travels, displacement, secrets, belongings, carriage; “My story your story”, “Road From Tanzania” and “Crossing the Lines” which also feature the Butterfly meaning (rebirth, change and transformation) in many cultures. The inspiration for Visibly Invisible was conceived many years ago in my native Jamaica. I became intrigued by a woman whose difference in skin color seemed strange to those of that community and I remembered witnessing groups of children hurling rocks at her wooden window and zinc roof. She would avoid the daylight only emerging after sunset. Villagers thought she was a vampire not knowing that she was a woman with albinism imprisoned and often time trapped inside her own home.

Within the last (5) years more than (90) Tanzania people with albinism recorded murders, for witchcraft and superstition beliefs. This revelation cemented my determination to use art as a tool to advocate for crime against humanity worldwide, especially in countries where there is prejudice and discrimination against people with albinism. 

I decided to study albinism further to support my practice.  My current project Visibly Invisible came about from my research study on albinism. This body of work speaks about albinism societies in Tanzania, Jamaica and to a lesser degree United States. My hope is that the work will stir interest and open public discourse that will change old traditional ways of thinking and lead us towards acceptance and empowerment for people born with albinism. 

VISIBLY INVISIBLE is my most recent exhibition at the California African American Museum, in Los Angeles, California and curated by Mar Hollingsworth in collaboration with CCH Pounder, August 28, 2014-March 1, 2015.  The exhibition exhibited three sectioned installations; Soundscapes; Video; Performances, Photographs; Metals; Bronzes; Ceramics; Fabric; glass; Paintings, Wood and acrylic.

See my works:

Painting | Sculpture | Photography | Misc