Born in Dominica, Justin Augustine spent his school years in Toronto, then studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1999. Since 1995, he has participated in group exhibitions in Nova Scotia, including In This Place (1998), a provincially touring exhibition of art by black Nova Scotians, Home: The Art of Preston (2000) at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, and Cultural Memory (2000) at the University College of Cape Breton Art Gallery (part of Far and Wide, Visual Arts Nova Scotia?s Millennial series of Exhibitions). He has held solo exhibitions of his work at the Khyber Art Centre (1997), the Multicultural Resource Centre (1997), Anna Leonowens Gallery (1998), and at the Dalhousie art Gallery (2001), all in Halifax. He received an Effie May Ross Scholarship in 1998 and a Nova Scotia Arts Council Creation Grant in 1999. Augustine has been the subject of the CBC ?Art Spots? vignette. Augustine currently resides in Halifax.
My paintings depict images of young black persons transfixed in an otherworldly space. The figures occupy the foreground against what, at first glance, appears to be ambiguous backgrounds. However, they are not realistic portraits of actual individuals. Rather, they are composites, placed in scenes which frame and dominate my childhood memories of my homeland, the Caribbean island of Dominica. By placing these figures against warm, light coloured and sharply contrasted architecture, further memories of a tropical climate are evoked. The stoic and intentional gestures of the figures entice viewers to form their own conclusions as to the significance of the paintings. There is an added invitation for the viewer to take the place of the figures and undergo their own experiences.
Some of these paintings are, in fact, documentations of emotional connections to places I have visited, which have had a significant influence on how I perceive myself. Other paintings in this series are explorations of my own identity as a black person. As a parallel comparison with my homeland and as representation of my immigration to Canada at an early age, some of the paintings are familiar locations in Nova Scotia, such as Preston, Seaview Park (once the site of Africville) and Gottingen Street in the North End of Halifax.
Media:Oil on Canvas