Davin Ebanks


Self portrait with bananas (“free as dis sea, / I know myself, an I know my ways, / An will sing wid pride to de end o my days / Praise God an m’big right han / I will live an die a banana man.”) 

[Excerpt: Song of the Banana Man, Evan Jones]




Cayman Islands – USA


45 x 20 x 20 cm


Blown, Hot-sculpted, Sand-blasted & Silvered Glass, Steel

Credits: Artist’s private collection. Photography by Jamie Hahn.

Davin Ebanks reflects on the visual culture of the Cayman Islands, the artist’s place of origin, as a repository of the trauma of slavery. In the Cayman Islands, the banana has a double symbolic charge since, on the one hand, bananas are the most accessible food for the poorest people—who usually grow banana plants in their backyards—and, on the other, bananas are also the star product of the export trade in the Islands. These two variants of the banana, one related to poverty and the other to wealth, merge in the glass and porcelain bananas with which many middle-class families decorate their homes and in which kitsch and good taste go hand in hand. In this piece, a bust made of black sand-cut glass wears two bananas around its neck in a double allusion to gold jewelry as a symbol of high social status and to the shackles used to imprison enslaved people. By fusing both references, Ebanks takes on the trauma of slavery suffered by his ancestors and re-signifies it to endow it with dignity.