Julian’s Dread is a solo exhibition by Jamaican born, Calgary based artist Jae Sterling. Featuring a short film, oil and digital paintings, themes within Julian’s Dread explore symbols of Jamaican youth, Christian Fanaticism, Magical Realism and Theosophy. Through the various mediums, Sterling invites the viewer to contemplate what powers does Julian have? What old spirits live in Julian’s paintings and books? In the short film Jinn Julian, Sterling examines the life of fictional character Julian, intended to provide an intimate investigation into the characters emotionally complex existence. Sterling explains, “I ground my work in the unique realities of what it feels like to be a Jamaican in the Canadian Prairies, but I also explore what I could look like through different lenses, using art as a portal to travel through time and space”. Sterling’s oil paintings channel a dark undercurrent, masked with a whimsical impressionistic surrealism. Large turquoise waves crashing down in the painting Julian Fighting the Tide, metaphorically translate a tremendous struggle, overwhelmed and potentially defeated. In contrast, the painting Old Jinn, confronts us with the longevity and perseverance of a long life lived. Sterling explains, “My work continues capture a certain obsession with people and their dreams, a repeated analysis of my own history with a need to re-contextualize over and over, Caribbean colours to punctuate the deep future”.
Jae Sterling is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and founding member of the FOREIGNERZ arthouse. Informed by and finding ways to blur pop culture, classic and contemporary art, Sterling’s work veers between presenting heightened expressions of human emotion and exploring dreamscapes. His mediums include graphic illustration, painting, written essays, music and fashion and often is presented under the title ‘BIG BULLY’. Through his early years in Kingston, Jamaica to the landscapes of North America, Jae spent the past decade developing his artistry by weaving his experiences of growing up in Jamaica & South Florida and coming into adulthood in the Canadian prairies into all his projects, predominantly as a musician. In 2019, his exploration in hip hop led him to be one of 10 artists selected for the Alberta National Music Centre’s residency program. Sterling has so far released four music projects and has toured in Alberta & Ontario.