• Tourism, Tropicalization, and the Architectural Image
    Oluwatamilore Akarakiri, Raeesah Amegankpoe, Crystien Esters, Bria Miller, and Bruce Turner III
    Dahlia Nduom
    The Octagon, Washington
    Sep 06, 2024 to Jan 10, 2025
    Dahlia Nduom

Bria Miller, “Grammy's House,” 2022. Digital collage. Courtesy the artist

Using Jamaica as a case study, this exhibit explores the legacy of colonial and tourism consumption, contributing to the narrative of an “exotic” tropical paradise. This narrative has developed through centuries of construction and dissemination of images to advance political, socio-cultural, and economic goals. The exhibit examines the role of architecture in this constructed narrative by presenting images from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries crafted to remove associations of death, disease, and the horrors of slavery by promoting the Caribbean picturesque. Through the display of paintings, photographs, postcards, and advertisements, the exhibit explores architectural signifiers of the tropical narrative, the development of architectural tropes, and their proliferation in tourist spaces. Tourism, Tropicalization and the Architectural Image also presents the morphology of Jamaican architecture, allowing viewers to understand the nuanced architectural vocabulary. At the same time, the exhibit explores Jamaican architectural futures through interviews, collages, and models, which confront the stereotypical definition of “Jamaican architecture.”

Dahlia Nduom is an assistant professor in the department of architecture at Howard University.  She received a bachelor’s in architecture and visual studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MArch degree from Columbia University. As a licensed architect, her practice and teaching experience spans the United States and Ghana. Her work investigates the relationship between history, culture, and perception and their impact on the architecture of the African Diaspora. She received the National Organization of Minority Architects’ Honor Award: Unbuilt Category in 2017, and her work was recently on display in the New Blood exhibition at the ArchiAfrika Pavilion in the European Cultural Centre’s Time Space Existence exhibition (2021) in Venice alongside the 17th International Architecture Exhibition–La Biennale di Venezia. Her teaching and scholarship have been recognized with the 2022 American Institute of Architects (AIA) DC Architect Educator award and a 2024 Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Emerging Scholar.