Photo by Keith Major
Ainsley Burrows is a multidisciplinary, contemporary artist. Read his bio here...
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"Ainsley Burrows is one of the great visionary artistic voices of our time. When I first saw his work, I was extremely moved by the elegance, depth and power simultaneously depicted in his images. These images speak truth to power while celebrating the vibrant culture and triumphant spirit of our community. With the persistent ability to find optimism, hope and strength, Ainsley's work reveals stories of values and ways of being that came from Africa and that have transformed the world as we know it for the better. His artistry moves viewers to reflect in remembrance of the past while reaching through the windows of the future.
For me, Ainsley’s art represents the best of what afrofuturism is and should be, and goes well beyond being limited to a category. Take for example the incredibly powerful Maroons series which simultaneously re-educates us about our past and imagines a better, more human future. These works show our heroes and sheroes who persisted, survived and thrived, even in the face of deep seeded systemic racism born out of the European slave trade. While the Maroons and their descendants resisted the most brutal system of forced labor ever devised, Jim Crow segregation or even the current systemic outcomes, have not been allowed to stop or silence our community.
Ainsley’s work reminds all of us that our people are still here and we are the future...colorful, proud and triumphant." -Hill Harper
— Hill Harper, Actor and Author
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"Ainsley is an amazing human, the profundity of his expression of moments and characters in world history is breathtaking. He captures a reckoning of sorts; giving face, texture, and honor to the returned gaze of the overlooked."
— Lisane Basquiat
“The way Ainsley uses paint is brave and matches his subject matter. Ainsley’s technique requires that he uses his whole body when creating work, so his strokes are grand and full of fevered movement. His use of color is bold and unapologetic, and the placement of the color and his color choices are intuitive; it’s almost like the work is telling him exactly what it needs. This series is yelling to the viewer to pay attention, to see more.”
— Naudline Pierre, The Studio Museum in Harlem 2019-20 Artist in Residence
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"Ainsley Burrows' work is a vibrant force that transcends every dimension of life. His brushstrokes dance, teach, and soothe; collectively invoking an authentic spirit of wonder. Ainsley is a modern day creative genius, one who later generations will seek to emulate."
— Vivian K. Tozaki, Esq.
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"There are rare moments when an artist is able to create indelible work with the ability to transcend space and time. Ainsley Burrows, Jamaican born and Brooklyn raised multidisciplinary artist, invites us to witness such a visceral and poignant feat in his newest collection, The Maroons. Burrows renders the collective black psyche - grounded in historical research and Caribbean culture - spanning over centuries with technical complexity and a poetic raw truth that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. A sort of 'universal specificity', this collection wrangles with the very soul as it examines the psychological, spiritual, and emotional repercussions of slavery, colonization and white supremacy as its ripples are still felt in this day.
The series feels so intentional, as Burrows challenges western ideologies with visual metaphors and smart socio-political imagery in an amalgam of mediums, but never forgets to celebrate blackness in all of its forms: from the royals to the corner-boys, from the slave to the Gods, from the mundane to the abstract and ethereal, there is an undeniable resonance in every color and textural choice carrying this kinetic energy. We move through time with every painting, the ocean comes alive and the sky breaks within every layer of the work, rewarding us with an authentic and powerful experience one could never forget."
— Pages Matam, Award winning Author & Performer
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The import of Mr. Burrows' work is rooted in his painting not just his paintings.
Ainsley's pieces are bodacious, urgent, combative, mesmeric, turbulent, demanding and prompt a temporary appropriation of the senses. They are poems wrapped in concertos dipped in paint and sermonized on brash-sized canvasses redolent of his panorama! And that's before we get to the substance. I am consistently awestruck by the magnitude and eminence of his work and it's appeal to the seasoned art lover or neophyte.
Take his vaunted Maroon Series: about the Africans who escaped from slavery in Burrows' Jamaica and established free communities in the mountainous interior-constantly revolting against their British slave masters!
At one of Ainsley's private viewings: I struck up a conversation with a sixty-something year-old Jamaican man who's a self described conservative and art novice who told me in reverent tones, he grew up nonplussed about the Maroons because during his formative years: their history (muddled by the British) sparked both resentment and grudging acknowledgement. However, this afternoon, this novice stood solemn brimming with national pride but moreover embracing an impalpable awakening fostered by his gaze on the imperious, apocalyptic canvasses, exclaiming: "I lived an entire life confused about the maroons which as older Jamaican is strange but Ainsley's work shifted my understanding of the Maroons-it's a spiritual awakening which will cause me to question more than my view of the Maroons, it's like I'm being sucked in by these paintings"
Writing, painting, singing- they cannot stop everything. However: Ainsley is a sapien who believes everything is possible and his work: though a reflection of his ethos, his innate restlessness and exigency of spirit: makes the pause between our struggles-laughter and demise feel blissful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. I have two paintings of Ainsley's and they are different in scale and subject and they both began the same but in the end they are all uniquely different yet with each recast of my eyes: they evince an ageless reprise of their stories-If I was a bit Quixotic, I would testify Ainsley sneaks into my apartment daily and adds a few brush strokes to his work!
— Daren Lyons, Writer & Cultural Attache