Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, 2007
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2012, MFA, Painting
Camille Chedda was born in Jamaica, where she studied painting at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Her works are often concerned with Jamaican identity, isolation and struggle. She draws reference to the history of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade as well as the current waves of violence affecting the country. She has addressed these issues by painting the figure and portraits on plastic sheets and plastic bags.
This body of work began with my daily use and collection of plastic bags, which are known as ‘scandal bags’ in Jamaica, my country of origin. Typically, scandal bags are black and opaque, and are therefore able to conceal their contents from public view. Although they are predominantly used for carrying groceries, scandal bags have been used to hold weapons, drugs, stolen goods and even body parts. This is exactly why they bear this name in Jamaica, because of their ability to hide, from public view, things that might be considered scandalous if revealed. By painting self-portraits on plastic bags, I wanted to investigate personal and social issues of identity and existence. The self-portrait here is a stand in for all the objects that could exist in the bag, be it groceries and precious items or the illegal elements of the Jamaican towns and cities. It is synthetically protected from external elements of theft, scorn, use and abuse, while being abused and stifled behind the plastic walls.