"Invisible Presence: Bling Memories," originally created for a 2014 performance held in Kingston, Jamaica, during the Carnival mass, is a series of brightly embellished coffin-shaped sculptures that recall the island’s “bling funeral” tradition. More broadly, they address notions of invisibility around disenfranchised communities. More than 30 individualized sculptures — made with doilies, fabric appliques, artificial flowers, fringe, glitter, lace, rhinestones, ribbon and tassels — are placed within the length of the gallery, offering viewers an immersive, vibrant yet contemplative experience.
Across from the sculptures hangs Patterson’s "of 72 project," a series of digitally printed bandanas hung in rows on clothesline. The artwork’s intricately decorated portraits serve as a collective memorial, specifically referencing a day of military violence in Jamaica in 2010 and acting as poignant meditations on individuality and presence. Likewise, the title of the exhibition is taken from the Jamaican poet Claude McKay’s 1919 poem, which reads: "If we must die, O let us nobly die, / So that our precious blood may not be shed / In vain." The tone of this historic poem translates to Patterson’s commemorative work celebrating the importance of human dignity and the enduring human spirit.
The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Textile Society of America’s October 2016 symposium, "Crosscurrents: Land, Labor and the Port," taking place in Savannah, Georgia.