Akeem Smith reflects on the legacy of dancehall culture at Detroit’s Woods Catherdral with his architectural installation, Soursop, designed as a ‘building within a building’.
The immersive space is an offsite part of the artist’s No Gyal Can Test solo exhibition, hosted by Red Bull Arts Detroit until the end of July. The show includes sculptures and audio and video installations and explores ‘themes of community, site specificity, and transformation through music and style’, as Smith explains.
Soursop sits inside the weathered space of Woods Cathedral, and is built from worn floorboards, sourced from dilapidated structures in Kingston’s Waterhouse District, where Smith grew up.
These salvaged pieces have been nailed together and reassembled to create a rudimentary dancehall. Inside, vintage framed photographs and video footage from dancehall videographer Hot Bulb are displayed on its walls, alongside scraps of patterned fabric and wallpaper.
This transplanted fragment of Jamaican culture takes on new significance inside the historic former cathedral, which was previously home to a progressive Black congregation – itself transplanted from the South during the Great Migration of the 1920s and 30s.
‘Soursop ‘is on show until 31 July by appointment. Book a visit via New Canons.