VIDEO: By BurniSunday, November 09, 2014
"If you get over your real fears there are so many things that you can try and accomplish" - Burni
Bernadette McKinley Matalon is feeling a lot better after her CHIKV encounter and is sharing studio space with SO.
The former model/beauty queen/pageant director and entrepreneur is putting the final touches to Emergence... the journey begins, her first solo exhibition.
THE EARLY YEARS...
"This transition," explains McKinley Matalon, "has been coming to the forefront in recent years. My parents had fabric stores when I was growing up and I would find pieces of interesting fabrics and spend hours draping them in different styles; you'd be surprised at how many styles you could get without cutting or stitching the fabric. At school I would draw and sign: By Burni. It was my way of being cool.
"It came as no surprise to my family and friends when I later got involved in modelling. Hitting the runway became a creative outlet which differed from the computer programming, sales and marketing jobs I had over the next few years."
Modelling in the late 70s and 80s required a lot of choreography and ahead of a show like AJ Brown Fashion Follies, for example, models would meet at the Jamaica School of Dance in the evenings for rehearsals. "We had the time of our lives following Bertie Rose's instructions," recalls McKinley Matalon.
"Entering the Miss Jamaica World (1978) competition, travelling overseas for modelling assignments, getting ready for photo shoots, and acting for television commercials were all great ways in which I was able to express myself. My summers were spent in jewellery-making classes and ikebana floral design."
THE DESIGN YEARS
McKinley Matalon moved to Miami in the late eighties where, after attending Miami Dade College, she would incorporate her experiences in sales and marketing and the clothing industry and open her own businesses, notably Corporate Images & BMcK Uniforms. "I designed and manufactured corporate apparel for companies throughout the Eastern Caribbean for 13 years. Even after closing the company eight years ago, I am still contacted by my then customers requesting my services."
Closing the business left a void. Not quite sure of what to do, McKinley Matalon decided to revisit the arts. " I planned," she shared, "to paint up a storm, having pursued fashion illustration as one of my college classes." A friend, however, suggested that her tactile personality would lend itself to exploring the plastic arts, and considered ceramics the perfect medium.
"I started classes at Edna Manley School of Art in 2006 where I was tutored by Norma Harrack, a most encouraging and nurturing teacher, and later at Sanaa Studio again with Harrack and occasionally with Philip Supersad. "Encouragement would also come from Gene Pearson who gave me a piece of clay so he could show me how to Raku a piece. Unfortunately, I still have not taken him up on that yet."
"This is a special time in my life: my daughter is all grown up. I no longer have my business and my husband and close friends have encouraged me to explore my creativity. This phase of my life is now about challenging myself to create in new and exciting ways and I must say that I have been surprising myself, as my exhibition title -- Emergence -- explains. This is but the start of this journey."