Timothy W. Jahn
The Art of Peer Pressure
Oil on board
30 x 30 inches
The Art of Peer Pressure is a song title by Kendrick Lamar; the song deals with identity. For this painting I wanted to represent one of my apprentices. For the last four years I have been the Dean at Ani Art Academies Anguilla and have had the great opportunity to meet many inspiring people on my adventure. Working in another country gives you a very different perspective of where you come from. So often I have heard, “Well, you’re an American,” but it’s hard for me to see what that is from someone else’s perspective. Identity and cultural heritage have been on my mind for the past four years.
To explore this idea further, I wanted to do a portrait of my apprentice Taffari. He is an extremely talented artist and will develop into an excellent artist. He was born in Jamaica and at an early age moved to Anguilla. As a non-Anguilla native he never felt like he truly fit in. Having lived away from Jamaica nearly his entire life, he also doesn’t fit in in his native country. Many people I have met have had similar experiences. This is very common in the United States as we may identify with our ancestry, but no longer have any serious connection to those countries. People in this situation find themselves looking for a place to fit in and they are desperately trying to understand their identity. Having grown up in the United States I watched first generation Americans adapt to their new country and gain acceptance. This acceptance does not happen in all places I have visited.
As Taffari matures he is asking himself who he is. “Am I Jamaican? Am I Anguillian? Am I Caribbean? Am I African? Am I just another individual human finding his place in this world?” This was the jumping off point for my picture.
Inspired by: "The Art of Peer Pressure" by Kendrick Lamar
Timothy W. Jahn
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City