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Studio Visit: Nadine Hall

Studio Visit: Nadine Hall

Nadine Natalie Hall is originally from Bull Bay, a small coastal community in East Rural, St. Andrew, Jamaica. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Textiles and Fibre Arts at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She was a recent resident artist at Fountainhead Residency with a partnership of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI).

Her earliest influences into the world of textiles were spawned from her childhood, where she would watch her mother – a dress maker – transform yards of ordinary fabrics into beautiful garments. Although not strictly a maker of clothing Nadine Hall is exploring ways to expand her textiles beyond the known and expected.

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Above: “Heirlooms,” 2015, mixed media installation, 16ft x 16ft x 10ft. Image credits: Nadine Hall.

“I tell the narrative and legacy of my life through my textile art,” Nadine Hall initiates our conversation. From her mother and father, she was fascinated in the transformative process of raw materials and turning them into finished objects, be it clothing or furniture, even general repairs around the house.

As Hall searched for her life’s purpose, she tried different avenues but returned to art where she knew her true passion was found. “I had this thing that was incomplete [in my life]. I decided something needed to change so, I went back to school and graduated at the top of my school,” she adds. “I had to find myself and not go through life thinking, ‘what if’ as that would have weighed on me heavily,” Nadine Hall speaks of her life’s choice.

Ms. Hall notes the hanging pieces in front of us while in conversation, Trapped: The Butterfly Series, three panels at 62″ x 19″ each, 2013. “The hanging triptych is a reflection of my emotional state when my mother died [in 2013]. We had a tumultuous relationship, yet before she passed, we got over some of our differences with some reconciliation.” 

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Above: “Trapped: a The Butterfly Series,” 2 of 3 panels at 62″ x 19″ each, 2013 portrait image credit: Onajide Shabaka

The triptych, though made of fabric, is designed to reflect stained glass with translucency and softness of light enveloping a sacred space. Presented as scroll like objects they also look back to similar objects from the European medieval period as Hall also includes screened text onto the fabric with cut-outs of two pieces of textile with butterflies layered between. 

All of these things are an important part of what makes Nadine Hall who she is; a person with determination and fortitude, but loving and generous. These elements are essential to her building her practice, and sharing it with others.

The hanging pieces evolved from a drawing series. The process of that evolution is part of her exploratory process and what makes her residency such an important thing to have in her life at the moment. For her initial visit to the US Nadine’s excitement is restrained and focused. 

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Above: “Trapped: The Butterfly Series,” 2 of 3 panels at 62″ x 19″ each, 2013 portrait image credit: Onajide Shabaka

Being a mixed media artist Nadine Hall is looking to explore various materials, traditional or nontraditional. Her materials will evolve but she is still focused on the legacy of her parents and family. It is a very personal narrative that she is sharing and inviting us into her conversation, one that is expanding beyond the borders of her native Jamaica and into Miami. Surely, it will widen even more by the end of her residency and return home.