David Boxer was born in Kingston, where he lived most of his life, and died. He attended Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York; and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland.
During his career, Boxer’s work was included in many important exhibitions such as Island Thresholds: Contemporary Art from the Caribbean, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts (2005)
He also participated in several Biennials, such as among those we can mention the Havana Biennial (1986, 1997), Havana, Cuba; Johannesburg Biennial, Johannesburg, South Africa (1995); the Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the First Biennial of Caribbean and Central American Painting, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (1996). His pieces are part of the collections of prestigious museums and institutions such as the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Washington D.C. and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Boxer is regarded as one of the most important contemporary artists, art historians and curators from the Caribbean region. His early training was as an art historian, which is very visible in the many references related to that field included in his work. The main influences in his oeuvre were Francis Bacon, whom he met during the time he was writing his thesis about him; and Joseph Cornell, especially his “boxes”.
Throughout the years, Boxer worked with selected themes which he revisited often. One of these was slavery and its remnants in Jamaican society. He explored this theme mainly through two series: Passages and Memories of Colonization. Death was also present in many of his pieces; often identified with AIDS, and its repercussions in the death of loved ones. Another theme related to death was Hiroshima, which he represented extensively. He considered himself a member of the Second World War generation, since he was born in 1946 and grew up in a postwar atmosphere. Self-portraits were a constant element in his oeuvre, individually or sometimes as part of more complex compositions.