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Norma Elaine Talma
Born: December 11, 1936
Detail of "Barbadiana"
Assemblage: wood, fabric, found objects 36” x 21”
Date:1974, Location: Barbados
Barbadiana was one of my many wooden assemblages created during the 1970\'s. It incorporates pieces of furniture, fabric, old keys, and other found objects with wood stain and traces of paint. It was my impression of the plantation houses and life in Barbados of an earlier age. The title, which encompasses Barbadian heritage, has become part of the Barbadian lexicon.

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Collage has been the connecting media throughout most of my career. Having worked with paint, collage and drawing materials for many years, in 1980 I began experimenting with Japanese handmade paper. In 1986, I staged an exhibition of these early works and my own handmade paper collages. I now create paper collages using handmade paper that has been poured, shaped, embedded, coloured, textured, printed and layered, often becoming sculptural. I am also producing series of linocuts and drawings on “paper paintings”. Consequently, each linocut or drawing is unique.

Most of my handmade paper is made from indigenous fibers such as banana-leaf stems, wild cotton and corn husks. But, more importantly, the paper is simply a vehicle to express my feelings and thoughts. My observations of the changing landscape and the natural environment serve as a microscopic study for human existence, the dynamics of colour, line, texture, form and rhythm present an opportunity to make statements about my psychological and spiritual life. They are paper poems that speak of the beginnings of life and the passages of time, incorporating autobiographical iconography and images of Amerindian and other early civilizations. Biblical, geological and space travel discoveries have also informed my art work. These themes have evolved from my initial and ongoing reaction to and fascination with the tropical sun and landscape, and through extensive explorations of space, light and time in the Caribbean. Periodic changes in colour palette and scale have brought new directions in my work.

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