Making Jamaica and the Tropical Picturesque: A Tourist Guide

Thurs 13 April. Doors open 6pm, talk 6.30 - 7.30pm

Rivington Place

London, UK

Talk / tour, £2

The photographs in our Making Jamaica exhibition were reproduced as postcards to promote this British colony as a potential site of tourist adventure on the international stage at the height of modernity, and in the depths of modernism.

Dr. Michael McMillan’s interactive talk will take the audience on a ‘tour’ playing with the idea of the ‘tourist guide’ while raising questions about how in these images the subjects are portrayed as industrious and contented after slavery, the places as idyllic sites of ‘unspoiled beauty’, and the buildings as familiar as elsewhere in the Empire.

Who were these images made for and why? How do these imagery feed into notions of the ‘tropical picturesque’ in the popular imagination? How notions become embedded in the idea of contemporary tourism in Jamaica and elsewhere across the Caribbean?

Doors will open at 6pm to view of the exhibition, and the talk will begin at 6:30pm.

About the speaker

Michael McMillan is a London based playwright, mixed-media artist/curator, and scholar of Vincentian migrant parentage. His work includes: The West Indian Front Room (2005-06), The Beauty Shop (2008) and more recently: No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990 (2015-16), Doing Nothing is Not an Option (2015) Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day (2015-16). His publications include: The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (2009)

He has the first Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University (2010), and is currently an Associate Lecturer in Cultural & Historical Studies at London College of Fashion (University of the Arts, London) as well as Research Associate with the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre (VIAD), University of Johannesburg.

About Making Jamaica

Making Jamaica explores how a new image of Jamaica was created through photography in the late nineteenth century.

More than 70 historical photographs, lantern slides and stereocards reveal the carefully constructed representation of this transitional period in Jamaica’s history. For first time, its people are depicted as an industrious nation post-emancipation, and their surroundings as a desirable tourist destination and tropical commodity.

Read more >

Additional Info

Autograph ABP
Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA.

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The entrance is on the side of the building.

We are located in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations.
Buses: 26, 43, 48, 55, 67, 149, 205, 242 and 271

  • Making Jamaica exhibition at Autograph ABP. Photograph: Zoe Maxwell
  • Victory Market, Kingston, Jamaica. A. Duperly & Sons, c. 1890. Courtesy Caribbean Photo Archive / Autograph ABP