Tessa Whitehead is a Bahamian artist, based in Nassau. Her practice incorporates a variety of mediums, including, performance, analogue photography, film and sculpture, with an emphasis in painting and drawing. Whitehead uses her work to recount inherited stories and peculiar happenings within her home and her immediate landscape. Her works re-imagine these inherited allegories and recounted moments that are inextricably linked to the landscape once inhabited by her ancestors and now by her. She often uses the Bahamian bush as backdrop for her works and fills the space with familiar caricatures, people from her immediate community and objects that might occupy these spaces. The lush, tropical backdrop seems like a perfect landscape for healing; however, her works also contain hints of agonizing irony and often unearth sordid archetypes of the wild woman, a pointed juxtaposition to the idyllic tropical façade.
Tessa’s heritage is both Bahamian (father) and Jamaican (mother). She received her BA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (2007) and her MFA from The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London (2009). Whitehead's most recent solo exhibition was at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in 2019. She has participated in group exhibitions including Beginning, The Brighton Storeroom, Barbados (2019); Ubersee, Halle 14, Spinnerei in Leipzig, Germany (2017); Showoff, Cooke Latham Gallery (2020); Nassau Calling (collaborative with Heino Schmid), at HilgerBROTKunsthalle, Vienna, Austria (2015); and Showoff (with Heino Schmid), curated by LeandaKateLouise, London, UK (2015).