Island People on Blue Mountain, Mildred Howard’s first project at Shark’s, is a continuation of her nearly four decades of using collage to re-purpose found materials in an inclusive and global context.
She describes the project. “These works are layered upon pages taken from Our Islands and Their People as seen with Camera and Pencil, 1899, a two volume folio by Jose De Olivaries and Joseph Wheeler on the cultures of the Caribbean and South Pacific, which I inherited from my parents’ estate. Growing up, the books could always be found on a coffee table or under some object. As a small child I would page through them regularly.
On the surface of these and other found pages and maps, I have incorporated chine collé, gold leaf, images from antique tintype photographs sent to me by a collector from Hawaii, the text of President Obama’s speech regarding the opening of Cuba and the recurring symbol of a spade. The word “spade” is popularly misunderstood as a derogatory term but the symbol itself has a much richer historical set of meanings, including power, darkness and regenerative life”.