Peter Dean Rickards was an influential self-taught Jamaican photographer known for his cinematic photographs and video works that focussed on the contradictions of modern life in Jamaica, and his pioneering use of the internet at the turn of the century.Read More
Rickards is perhaps best known as the creator of The Afflicted Yard (http://afflictedyard.com/): a website he launched with friend Ainsworth Weir in 1999 in an effort to subvert stereotypes about Jamaica. The project was motivated by the discovery that the internet at the time lacked a nuanced Jamaican perspective. The artists uploaded photographic works and blog posts online—often humorous and sarcastic reflections on politics, tourists, and personal anecdotes, revealing the discrepancy between actual life in Jamaica and outside conceptions of the country.
Among Rickards' images now archived on The Afflicted Yard and the artist's website (http://peterdeanrickards.com/) are candid portraits of Jamaica, including the slaughter of a pig in Friday Morning Market; fight clubs in Thursday Night at the Fights; and portraits of Jamaican dancehall icons Ninjaman, Sizzla, and Bounty Killer. Also gaining acclaim as a fashion and commercial photographer, Rickards worked with an international clientele such as the BBC, Puma, i-D, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.
Engaged with local art scenes in Kingston, where he was primarily based, in 2004 Rickards co-founded First Magazine, which featured photography and writings. Beginning as a print publication, First Magazine gained a considerable following by the time it switched to an online format. It went on hiatus in 2010. Rickards also created the Kingston Signals internet radio.
In 2012, Rickards' work was included in the group exhibition I is AnOther at New Art Exchange, Nottingham, celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence. Among the works on view was an installation of a wall featuring an iteration of Banksy's Girl with Balloon—Rickards, who had purchased the wall, removed it from its original location and documented the process on film.
Following his death in 2014, Rickards' legacy was acknowledged during the Jamaica Biennial at the National Gallery of Jamaica in 2017. In 2019, Sole DXB and Afflicted Yard co-presented The Afflicted Yard: a survey exhibition showcasing most of Rickards' work at The Third Line in Dubai.
Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020