Alberta Whittle

Secreting Myths (jade)

About this artwork

In this print, Alberta Whittle has transformed an engraving by Theodore de Bry (1528–1598). The engraving visualised for European audiences the first encounters between Conquistadors and the peoples and territories of the West Indies in the late fifteenth century. It shows the Conquistadors’ dogs attacking indigenous people, savagely ripping at their limbs and faces while in the background the Spaniards are unmoved by the scene of visceral horror unfolding in front of them. Whittle’s title Secreting Myths alludes to the distorting mythology of such representations, as well as her organic intervention with a snail trail printed in gold ink. This secretion is positioned to obscure the body of one of the Spanish antagonists. Whittle’s chosen colours of jade ink against a solid background of cerulean blue evoke memories from her Barbadian childhood. This multi-layered story in print combines different types of imagery to produce lushly colourful and embossed surfaces containing both beauty and violence. 

Updated 2021

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Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle