Marlon Griffith (1976, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) started his artistic practice as a Carnival designer—a “mas’ man,” as Trinidadians would call him. This background deeply shapes his work as a contemporary visual artist, which has performative, participatory, and ephemeral characteristics that derive from Carnival.
This has evolved into a processional+installation practice that is based upon a reciprocal dialogue between ‘Mas’ (the artistic component of the Trinidad Carnival) and art as a means of investigating the phenomenological aspect of the embodied experience: which is situated at the intersection of the visual and public performance.
His work is manifested through the engagement and collaboration with various communities, traditions and cultures; experimenting with fundamental questions in perception, Griffith’s work interrogates contemporary culture outside the traditional pitfalls of representation. Operating outside the context of Mas’ Griffith performative actions are stripped down to their basic form and abstracted to create new images and narratives that respond critically and poetically to our socio-cultural environment.
Griffith has been an artist in residence at Bag Factory / Fordsburg Artists Studios in Johannesburg (2004); Mino Paper Art Village in Japan (2005); Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, Kingston, Jamaica (2007); and Popop Studios, Nassau, The Bahamas (2010-11); and Art Omi, Ghent, New York (2011). He has shown extensively in North America in Toronto (South-South: Interruptions & Encounters, 2009); Miami (Global Caribbean, 2010); Washington (Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions, Art Museum of the Americas, 2011); Champaign (Krannert Art Museum, 2011) and other locations and internationally in Gwangju (7th Gwanju Biennale, 2008) and Cape Town (CAPE09, 2009) MANIFESTA 9 Parallel Projects 2012, Hasselt, Belgium, AICHI TRIENNALE 2013, TATE MODERN BMW Tate Live Series 2014 and the AGYU(Art Gallery of York University) 2015.
In 2010, Marlon was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and of a Commonwealth Award