Arrivants: Simon Tatum

Simon Tatum - Tropical Forms (2018) - detail
Simon Tatum (Cayman Islands) – Tropical Form (2018), wall-based drawing installation – photograph Jonathan Tatum

Simon Tatum was born in George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, in 1995, and is also based there. He was educated at the University of Missouri (BA, 2017). His solo exhibitions to date are Discover and Rediscover (2016), at the University of Missouri and Looking Back and Thinking Ahead (2017), in the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands. Various group exhibitions include Open Air Prisons (2016), LACE Gallery in Los Angeles, California, and Sense of Place (2018), Spinnerei Halle 18 in Leipzig, Germany. He was part of the Caribbean Linked IV (2016) residency programme in Oranjestad, Aruba. Moreover, he currently serves an Assistant Curator at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.

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Simon Tatum installs Tropical Form at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (photograph courtesy Karen Brown)

Artist’s Statement

Tropical Forms are monotone paintings designed to act as organisms by adapting to the dimensions of their exhibition space and incorporating materials and references from the various locations they travel. The concept was created by Tatum during a residency in Leipzig, Germany. While in Germany, he learned that male Cuban contract workers were sent to Leipzig to work within the spindle factories because of a trade deal between Cuba and the German Democratic Republic. The Cubans spent limited time in Leipzig, but several of them intermixed with German locals and had children.

Moreover, Tatum is becoming interested in narratives of promoted migration caused by political matters and how such movement encourages sexual encounters and coupling between different cultural groups. Tatum realises that migration is historically recognised by both positive and negative circumstances, but feels that hybridising should be embraced and his Tropical Forms are attempted shrines for acts of hybridising.