From The Outside
, Greenland Street
28th August – 5th October 2008
Whilst walking around the Anthony Jadunath exhibition at the CUC, there
were moments when Johnny Hawkworth’s infectious theme tune to Roobarb
and Custard played in my head. This is not an insult to the work on display
here, but simply a reaction to Jadunath’s style that reminded me
of the loud and anarchic cat and dog duo. Indeed much of Judunath’s
hallucinatory, cartoon-like work is filled with animals as well as human
characters that are reminiscent in form and colour to that of Picasso
as well as Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men series.
The leaflets and information that accompany the exhibition reveal Jadunath’s
life to be just as interesting as the work on display, with much of it
blighted by abuse, mental disorder and physical disability after being
displaced from his home in Trinidad at the young age of nine. With this
knowledge, one can come to appreciate the tense nature of Jadunath’s
work as a playful, childish simplicity competes with dark, violent undertones.
There is a strong sense of rhythm to Jadunath’s art that can be
seen in the detailed patterns of the frames, the recurring shapes and
characters or blocks of pure colours reminiscent of artists interested
in primitive and naive art typical of outsider artwork.
However, with the collection spanning twenty years, we can see Jadunath
has developed his own distinct language and off kilter view of the world.
The first room is undoubtedly dark, with an overwhelming sense of death
and violence pervading many of the pieces like Untitled #3, Untitled #4,
Crucifixion and Brixton Bomber. The second room, however, reveals a more
playful and humorous sensibility, largely devoted to portraits such as
Man With A Dilemma, Play The Bass or Untitled #22, as well as many joyously
depicting farmyard animals, pets and their owners.
Many of the pieces on show are untitled and without a date so it is hard
to know at what point in Jadunath’s life and his circumstances they
were created but undoubtedly this is a rewarding exhibition of a unique