Never stop thinking. Never stop creating. Create for you.
Welcome to OMARTHAN.COM
I am Omarthan Clarke - visual artist, educator, and advocate for increased continued critical thought and praxis across communities world-wide. Currently, I’m based in Western Massachusetts. I hold a MA in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University - A hybrid program which focuses on critical discussions of Aesthetic Theory, Pedagogical Theory, and Public Policy facilitated by the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy with the support of the John Glen College of Public Affairs.
I was born in Spanish Town Jamaica and lived in Savannah La Mar (Westmoreland) until the age of 5. Raised in America as a Jamaican, I embody the culture traits (and celebrate the combined history) of these great nations in referring to myself as “Jamerican”.
My artistic inspiration comes from the experiences I had growing up - specifically, the strength in my expressions are consistent with the inherent passions for creativity threaded throughout my national and cultural histories. In essence, my work is inspired by complex cultural and spiritual dynamics, inefficiencies, looming tragedies, overcoming obstacles, and unexpected counter-narratives amidst it all. Of course, I paint images that discuss simple beauty or attractive forms, but my overarching focus is the former.
I believe there are moments when the temporal synchronizes with the spiritual. In these moments, humanity is at its greatest. Whether it be a spectacle or not, something beautiful happens. Recently, my paintings they have had this beam of light which runs through it; sort of interrupting the visual composition, yet simultaneously strengthening the balance… those beams represent my acknowledgement that this image is re-presenting a synchronous event for a group or individual human.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have.
A Special Project....The Messenger
The messenger was born from a journey I took to a hill town in Jamaica called Watt Town. There was a 40 day annual Revivalist convention taking place. Revivalists are a particular group of Christians who practice in a distinctly Africanized way. They opened the event to the public for one day only. This was the cause for my visit.
During my visit, I observed chants, songs, and other ceremonial activities. I also noticed the various symbols that marked the area they called “the Seal”. They drew my natural curiosity.
I met a fella who wore a magnificent head wrap. His clothes were all black, but his head wrap bore many colors. Through my family and heritage experiences, I understood that different colors represented the presence of different messengers from the spirit realm. Beyond the reverence that the colorful head-wrap drew, he stood with a poise that seemed to transcend time and place (as I know it). I “knew” he was a a wise man.
I asked him about the symbols in the seal and the meanings they hold. He explained that they can only be inspired to, written by, and understood by someone chosen by the Holy Spirit. I understood. Yet, and still, I continued to inquire about the specific meanings. He lead me down a path of riddles that revealed nothing but the truth that the meanings of the symbols were for those who were a part of the community. I had a deep respect for his position and choice - I somehow felt gratified by the fact that , as an outsider, this knowledge was not for me. It was clear that he was quite intelligent and articulate, the symbols had meaning, and that the religious structure had an order. I appreciated the display of black bodies having a structure and history dating back hundreds of years, and still active while preserving secrets that may never leave the community. It was a powerfully moving conversation for me. In this moment, he was my messenger.
The message was simply that the nobility and sanctity observed in any religion or way of life is brought by the people and mindsets they hold while carrying their mantle. As humans, we all chose what is sacred, protected, or appropriate to be shared. Thus, choosing the outcome.
Aesthetically, the colors are meant to inspire a presence of nobility. Subjectively, I aimed to capture the truth that nobility emerges from the spirit within. Further, the beam of light that runs through the painting represents that break in the temporal space that allows the spirit to bring forth holistic actualization.