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Cedar Lewisohn: Patois Banton

Patois Banton is a solo exhibition by London-based artist, writer and curator Cedar Lewisohn. His recent work has focused on intertwining narratives within art history and the contemporary psyche; often done from a black British perspective.

Over the recent 2–3 years we have witnessed various historic museum collections being questioned for ethical reasons related to the obtaining of their artefacts. The mixing together of histories, locations, myths and hidden stories told through these collections has long been central to Cedar’s work. He has recently worked with objects from UK collections such as the British Museum, the Pit Rivers Museum, and the Petrie museum. Objects and artefacts that Cedar engages with are translated and re-contextualised through large and small scale drawings – often processed through wood-carving prints – that become the starting point for a practice that embodies book-works, printed matter, performances, VR experience and the written word.

The title of the exhibition is a fusion of two words that offer further insight into Lewisohn’s practice and his preoccupations. Patois as in Jamaican Patois – the English-based creole language spoken primarily in Jamaica and among the Jamaican diaspora (Lewisohn took lessons in patois over the COVID-19 lockdowns from poet, writer and patois expert Joan Hutchinson), and banton, a Jamaican word meaning ‘storyteller’. Bringing these words together highlights Lewisohn’s interest in exploring Jamaican heritage from both an individual and collective perspective, and the complex and intertwined narratives that have formed as a result of historical events in this country and beyond.

The exhibition will present a range of new and recent works, several of which have not been exhibited before, including a newly commissioned book-work and a large-scale interactive virtual space.

Free Lunchtime Walkthroughs

Join Bonington Gallery’s Assistant Curator Joshua Lockwood-Moran for a free gallery tour of our current exhibition on Wednesday 1 March at 1 pm.

Office Poems

Cedar Lewisohn’s publication Office Poems is a collection of poems written from 2019 that share reflections and frustrations on working within an office environment.

These poems have been translated into Patois by Joan Hutchinson, a writer, storyteller and teacher based in Jamaica. Throughout the publication there are numerous drawings by Cedar, resembling doodles that are done when in tedious meetings. Buy a copy online or ask our gallery invigilator on your visit.

About the artist

Cedar Lewisohn has worked on numerous projects for institutions such as Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the British Council. In 2008, he curated the landmark Street Art exhibition at Tate Modern and recently curated the Museum of London’s Dub London project. In 2020 he was appointed curator of Site Design for The Southbank Centre. He is the author of three books (Street Art, Tate 2008, Abstract Graffiti, Merrell, 2011, The Marduk Prophecy, Slimvolume, 2020), and has edited a number of publications. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally for over twenty years and belongs to various collections. In 2015 he was a resident artist at the Jan Van Eyke Academie in Maastricht. Lewisohn has been included in numerous group exhibitions and had solo projects at the bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht (2015), Joey Ramone, Rotterdam (2016), in VOLUME Book Fair at ArtSpace Sydney (2015) and Exeter Phoenix, (2017). Most recently he participated in the group exhibition UNTITLED: Art on the conditions of our time at Kettles Yard, Cambridge where his work was named by The Guardian as “the highlight of the show”.

Header image: Cedar Lewisohn, Untitled, 2022, Lino print on paper.