“I have no voice but I am not silent. I use tools beyond my physical body to communicate. Across the years my voice has been expressed mostly through the written word via a computer, and now, in recent years it has become my artwork, more than words, that has satisfied my deep need to connect with people in an authentic way.” – Astro Saulter
This past Saturday, Studio 174 in downtown Kingston was host to the opening of Astro: The Morning Star, an engaging debut exhibition launch by an artist new to the Jamaican scene. Thirty-four-year-old Astro Saulter, brother to filmmakers Storm and Nile Saulter, seems to share his siblings’ eye for the interesting. His pop-art influenced pieces range from products to people, with angular, Caribbean-inspired experiments in between.
Astro, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and communicates through the use of head movements, morse code and a computer, completes his pieces by utilizing various drawing programs, painstakingly adding details to his brightly colored, sometime intricate, images. Thirty-five of these works are on display at the exhibition, alongside a film made by his brothers, Nile and Storm, providing insight into Astro’s process and personality.
Not only is Astro, as he puts it, “dedicated to fostering the self-expression and creativity of the developmentally and physically disabled in Jamaica”, but the location of the exhibition also drew attention to Studio 174. Founder and director Rozi Chung is committed to art as a force for social change, having been involved in art therapy for inner-city communities, notably working with young people affected by the violence of the Tivoli incursion in 2010 and involving youth in art programming such as mural painting around Kingston. The event was an opportunity to raise awareness of the ability of art to cross boundaries–uptown coming downtown and Astro communicating to a whole range of the Kingston community and beyond.
Portions of the proceeds from the exhibition will go to the newly-established Astro Foundation, which will aim to provide the developmentally and physically disabled with artistic opportunities.
Studio 174 at 174 Harbour Street, Kingston, is open Wednesdays to Saturdays 10:30am-4pm. The exhibition will be up until January 19, 2013. For more info, contact +1-876-372-3098. Take a look at the Astro Project’s facebook page here, and scroll through below for Martei Korley’s photos from the opening event.