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Artist Victor Davson Comes Full Circle in Ramapo College Exhibition Examining Guyanese Roots

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)August 28, 2015

Victor Davson, Dub Factor: Heroes (Aretha Franklin), 2013, mixed media

MAHWAH, N.J.― The Ramapo College Art Galleries will present an ambitious mid-career survey exhibition by artist Victor Davson on Wednesday, September 9. The exhibition spans 30 years and five bodies of work that move back and forth between abstraction and figuration.

Davson’s work is heavily influenced by the anti-colonial politics of the Caribbean, and by the intellectual powerhouses of that period. These include extraordinary writers and activists such as Martin Carter, Frantz Fanon and Walter Rodney. Since 1996, his series of paintings and drawings, which include the Limbo/Anansi drawings, Bad Cow Comin’ paintings, and his most recent paintings on long playing vinyl record album covers, are his attempt as an artist to negotiate the roots of identity in a terrain of loss and desire. All of these series are a response to his strong memories from his childhood in Guyana of a folk performance in which the participants masqueraded from house to house on Christmas Day. He sees these carnivalesque characters as metaphors for people of the African Diaspora who have survived because of their resiliency.

“This compelling exhibition offers visitors a first-time opportunity to experience the scope of the artist’s oeuvre,” says Sydney O. Jenkins, Director of the Ramapo College Art Galleries and Exhibition Curator. “A cavalcade of imagery is offered — from the earlier accomplishments in formal abstraction, to pieces informed with literary and political references, to the layered imagery from popular culture seen in the Dub Factor: Heroes album covers series. “

An illustrated catalogue will be available.

 Additional Programs During the Exhibition

Poetry: Monday, September 28, 2 p.m. Kresge Gallery: Jim Haba, Founding Director of The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival reading from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and Trinidadian-born, Queens-bred visual artist and poet Cheryl Boyce- Taylor reading selections from her poetry.

Music: Friday, October 16, 8 p.m., Sharp Theater, Berrie Center: Concert with Canadian vocal musicians FreePlay Duo interpreting music by figures represented in Davson’s Dub Factor/Heroes series.

Tickets: $28/25/22; children under 17: $18. Galleries are open pre-performance from 6 – 8 p.m.

About Victor Davson

Victor Davson is a practicing artist and founding director since 1983 of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey.

He was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and since immigrating to the United States in 1973 he has received a BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York; co-founded Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art; and established himself in his practice as an artist.

Notable solo exhibitions include Dub Factor Redux, Maplewood Art Center, Maplewood, N.J.; Bad Cow Comin’: Recollections and Transformation, Rush Arts Gallery, New York City; Hero and Monster, The Tomasulo Gallery, Cranford, N.J.; Bad Cow Comin’ and Limbo/Anansi, DHR Gallery One, Newark, N.J.; Bad Cow Comin’: Recollections, Tompkins College Center Gallery at Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Penn.; and The Chain Link Series, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, N.J.

Notable group exhibitions include African-American Artists and Abstraction, Cuban National Museum, Havana, Cuba; Timehri Transitions: Expanding Concepts in Guyana Art, The Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House, New York City; Contemporary Expressions: Art from the Guyana Diaspora, Five Myles Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Drawn to New York, The Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery, State University of New York, Geneseo; This Twittering World, Francis Kyle Gallery, London, England; African American Artists from the Permanent Collection, The New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, N.J.; Present Continuous, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York City; La Línea: Dibujos Contemporáneous, Museo de Art Moderno de la Replublica Dominicana, Santo Domingo; Diverse Representations II, Morris Museum, Morristown, N.J.; The Act of Drawing: Medium/Method/Meaning, Tompkins College Center Gallery at Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Penn.; and Jonction Internacional, Nice, France.

Davson has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant; a Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper fellowship and three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His work is in the permanent collections of the Newark Museum, The Montclair Art Museum, the New Jersey State Museum, and the National Collection of Fine Arts, Guyana.

As executive director of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Davson leads a vital hub for creative excellence in Newark New Jersey’s downtown arts district. He has been internationally recognized for his leadership with Aljira. (

This program is made possible in part by funds by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding for the exhibition catalogue has been provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

The Kresge and Pascal Galleries are located in the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. Ramapo College is located approximately 40 miles outside of New York City at 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, N.J. For directions, visit our website at The Galleries are open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 1 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call 201-684-7147.



About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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