Recipient of Bridget Jones Travel Award – katie numi usher

Bridget Jones Award 2018

The recipient of the Bridget Jones Travel Award 2018 is the writer, poet and visual artist Katie Numi Usher, who lives and works in Belize. She will be coming to the 42nd Annual Conference for the Society for Caribbean Studies held at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London to make her presentation titled “Black Girl in the Art World.”

According to Katie Numi Usher a quote that has made an impact on her life which inspires and drives her artistic creations states that “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” ~ Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

With this quote acting as her launching pad for creative musings, Usher states that “[Although she] appreciate realism and the ‘beautiful images’ as much as anyone else, I have always maintained that there is a world to be shaken, and the tool I chose to do so with was art. With my work, I protest societal ills, whether protesting the demolition of a Maya temple for road fill, racist context hidden inside Mexican vernacular, or the rising murder rate in my country… There is no genre or technique I adhere to, often, in order to do a piece, I seek out other artists and apprentice with them, or if they are willing, collaborate to create the work.

I work within the community to create work for the community. Not that I am completely opposed to the galleries and museums with their white walls, but these can alienate those who didn’t study art or who feel that what it is inside was not made for them. My concept is to keep the dinner on the table and have the neighbors and friends come. Sure it would look nice, well-lit and on a pedestal of the gallery, but it could be widely enjoyed by the people it was made for, within a less formal space.”

Art has allowed me to connect with the community and shape reality, through writing, painting, installation and performance.”

Usher’s “Black Girl in the Art World” explores through poetry and vignettes her experiences and observations of the black female artist operating in non-traditional art spaces

Audley Chambers, Chair Bridget Jones Award Committee