Caribbean Linked I – October 11th -16th 2012 Collaborative Project between Ateliers ’89 & the Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc.

 

Abstracts for Individual Presentations on Saturday October 13th 2012

 

Rocio Aranda-Alvarado

rocio

Caribbean: Crossroads of the World

The exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaborative research and scholarship organized by El Museo del Barrio in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Caribbean offers an unprecedented exploration of the diverse and powerful cultural history of the Caribbean basin and its diaspora. More than 500 works of art

spanning four centuries illuminate changing aesthetics and ideologies and provoke meaningful conversations about topics ranging from commerce and cultural hybridity to politics and pop culture. This talk will give an overview of the exhibition and the planning process.

Bio:

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado is Curator at El Museo del Barrio where she is currently working on exhibitions superreal and El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2013 as well as the permanent collection exhibition for 2013. Most recently, she was a co-curator for El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2011 and curator of Gran Caribe, an exhibition of works drawn from El Museo’s permanent collection. Her curatorial work and research focuses on modern and contemporary art of the Americas. She is the former curator of Jersey City Museum, where she organized significant retrospective exhibitions of the work of Chakaia Booker (2004) and Raphael Montañez Ortiz (2006) and group shows on various themes including Tropicalisms: Subversions of Paradise (2006), The Superfly Effect (2004), and The Feminine Mystique (2007). Ms. Aranda-Alvarado is also on the adjunct faculty of the Art Department at the City College of New York. Her writing has appeared in various publications including catalogue essays for the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Art Nexus, Review, the journal of the Americas Society, NYFA Quarterly, Small Axe, BOMB and American Art.

 

Paco Barragan

paco

No Weekends, No Holidays, not even in the Caribbean! (Or Why Freelance Curating is a 24/7 Job)

Being an independent curator means maintaining a fragile equilibrium, there are situations where you work because you want to do the show though there’s no money and others where you get underpaid, especially during the last years with the current economic crisis. It means you have to be flexible.

As Harald Szeemann, the inventor of freelance curating would put it: “Sometimes he is the servant, sometimes the assistant, sometimes he gives artists ideas of how to present their work; in group shows he’s the coordinator, in thematic shows, the inventor. But the most important thing about curating is to do it with enthusiasm and love, with a little obsessiveness.”1

Globalization, the World Wide Web, new technologies, and low- cost travel have brought new countries and continents like India, China, Russia, Asia, and the Middle East to the contemporary art market since the late 1990s. But even more so, they have challenged the

1 Obrist, Hans Ulrich; A brief History of Curating. P.61

traditional platform of excellence —the museum— by introducing new curatorial platforms: art fairs, books, hotels, websites, and public space. On the other hand, curatorial practices centered on conservation and acquisition of a permanent collection shifted toward a thematic or monographic exhibitions policy, especially the ‘blockbuster’ model, in search of media coverage and increasing visitor numbers. And here is where the freelance curator started to come into play.

And now social media like Facebook and Twitter have made things more open and more complex at the same time. The curator has to adopt many roles.

The exhibitions I curate –be it Patria o Libertad! On Patriotism, Immigration and Populism or the most recent Paradox. The Limits of Liberty- mix art and life and try to reflect on how I see the world and challenge pre-configured issues. I don’t believe in nationalities, passports or geographies. I will explain my vision of curating related to the promotion of artists from regions that are not mainstream. Is curating in the 21st Century still a matter of regional or national issues? Is using ‘the exotic’ or ‘the other’ still a valid strategy that guarantees access to and success in the international art arena?

Bio:

Paco Barragán is a writer and independent curator based in Madrid. He is Associate Editor of ARTPULSE Magazine, Miami (USA) and Curatorial Advisor of the Artist Pension Trust (APT) in New York. He served as co-curator for the International Biennale of Contemporary Art (IBCA) at the National Gallery in Prague in 2005; and the Bienal de Lanzarote in 2009.

 

Holly Bynoe

holly

Establishing the Ethos of a New Caribbean Product

This presentation will have its central focus on the understanding of how development and sustainability of arts publishing can be an agent of effective change in our climate of the Caribbean. Not limited to our various locales i.e Anglophone, Dutch, Francophone and Hispanic- but focusing on how an extended conversation with the diaspora can influence and bring into focus the agency and action of globalization and its effects on collaboration, collectives and the mission of integration.

The question of ‘sustainability’ and ‘engagement’ of independent artists’ initiatives will be addressed in tandem to the routes and direction that are currently available to propel publications (print and online) into the forefront of viable options that will engage and challenge foreign markets to consider the idea, conception and realization of a “New Caribbean Product”. How does one ensure and guarantee quality and controlled branding and aesthetics? From these aestheticized decisions, what else must be put in place to gain a target and an idea of various demographics? Connectivity, inclusivity and democracy are explored as areas previously unconsidered for our cultural space.

Establishing the Ethos of A New Caribbean Product centers around the challenges that come hand in hand with independent publishing, its governances and policies set up that control trade, growth, capacity assessment, partnerships and bilateral relations. With ARC Inc. we are

defining a new Caribbean product as one that considers the following:

– An entity that works against traditional ways of thinking, marketing, aesthetic control, branding, and accessibility to a critical mass.

– An entity that people not only invest in but something that becomes a consistent part of people’s daily lives. The development of a brand that can transcend the boundaries of a typical consumer relationship, treating it as a ritualistic relationship that can be used to enhance a creative community, to build awareness and sensitivity while dictating an effective start to determine infrastructural support in the Caribbean.

– An entity that determines and considers community from a microscopic and macroscopic aspect, one that is open to exploring the potential of connectivity and cross pollination that exists in our varied and individual spaces.

– This entity must have a developed online component, extension and platform that works to specifically determine sophisticated ways of interfacing and connecting intimately with an audience. This platform will function to connect the very disparate demographic making the connections and artwork more visible and grounded firmly in a deliberate context. In order to facilitate that mobility and exchange the interface needs to adapt in its design and functionality incorporating new technologies and expediencies that cater to how contemporary artists are communicating across preconceived barriers.

These and other ideas will be expanded upon in conjunction with a series of detailed events that will elucidate the function of a viable, sustainable and dynamic cultural and artistic entity, platform and brand.

Bio:

Holly Bynoe is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of ARC Magazine a non-profit visual art and culture publication focused on contemporary art created in the Caribbean which specific focus on the integration and establishment of a dialogue between the region and at its diasporas. She graduated from Bard College | International Center of Photography, in 2010, where she earned an M.F.A. in Advanced Photographic Studies. Prior to that she procured a B.A in Communications with a minor in Photography from Adelphi University in New York and managed a video and film production company in her country St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

She has exhibited internationally and regionally in solo and group shows. Recent shows and publications include: Pictures from Paradise (2012) Robert & Christopher Publishers, Disillusions: Gendered Visions of the Caribbean and its Diaspora (2011) at Middlesex County College and Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery. Her works were selected as a part of ‘’Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions’, organized by the World Bank and the OAS, and “About Change” an exhibition that showcased contemporary artists across Latin America and the Caribbean in Washington D.C. throughout 2011.

Her curatorial practice has included the production of ‘Forever Forged, Forever Becoming’ at the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival in London which showcased the works of 20 contemporary photographers across the region, and ‘New Media’ as a new component to the Trinidad and Tobago Film festival program in September 2011 which brought together experimental video works by 10 established and emerging artists. Upcoming projects include ‘New Media 2012’ which will showcase the works of over 30 video and film artists across the Caribbean in Trinidad in September and various independent initiatives, which run concurrently with her work with ARC.

John Cox

john

Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts / 1999-2012 – What Have We Become?

Popopstudios was a name that was scripted on a silkscreened logo designed as a brand to be adorned on experimental furniture created by John Cox in the late nineties. At that point, there was no studio, no gallery, no community, and no residency, just an idea waiting to happen. This logo was a concept inspired by Cox’s grandfather Edward Dillet, nicknamed ‘Popop’ to be some kind of beacon to emulate the spirit of grandfather who was a generous grass roots building contractor. Soon this logo would mounted on a physical structure built in 1999 in Chippingham in New Providence on the property that Popop had owned and constructed the surrounding houses and buildings.

The Original Popopstudios was designed by John Cox, modeled after an upstate New York studio of Jackson Pollock and was intended to be a work space for the artist. The 25’ x 25’ foot space soon took on a role to support and was occupied by Cox’s likeminded artists friends that found themselves on the periphery of mainstream art in the Bahamas at that time. It was the spirit of redefining Bahamian visual expression that became the mission and vision for Popopstudios. The inward, reflective mindset of the artists involved in the early days of Popop helped create the brand that still stands today.

Heino Schmid, Blue Curry, Toby Lunn and Jason Bennett were among the fresh breed of fearless young practitioners that became at least part, if not a major part of the revolution of visual art in the Bahamas at the millennium.

Popopstudios operated primarily as a Gallery/studio space for the first seven years where the real groundwork was laid. In 2007, Popopstudios would expand to occupy the entire 4-acre property it once shared. At this point the operation took on a much more significant public presence. The once multi-functional gallery space existing out of one building was now an institution that stood on our four legs – Community, Gallery, Residency and Education; thus the transformation to the title: Popopstudios Center For The Visual Arts. The studio the quadrupled in size and became a working/living space for as many 13 artists working in Nassau. With the new structure came new goals and challenges.

The first 13 years of Popopstudios will be outlined, hinging on pivotal moments of its development from special exhibitions, interesting international resident projects, community achievements and future projections.

– THE EARLY YEARS / ON THE PERIPHERY
– CREATING THE CRITICAL MASS
– THE BIGGER SYSTEM/THE BIGGER PICTURE – SUSTAINABILITY

Bio:

Born in Nassau in 1973, John Cox is a mixed media artist whose work focuses on the everyday. He is known for large format paintings, found object assemblages, collage and non-traditional printmaking. The work often references distant places and ideas, but is executed with familiar and ordinary materials. He has been a major part of the Bahamian art scene for the past 20 years and played a significant role in redefining art in the Bahamas. Though Cox started as an architecture studentat the Rhode Island School of Design, he found his niche in illustration. He received a BFA in Illustration in 1995 and a Masters in Art Education in 1996. Soon after, his first international solo exhibition took place in Hong Kong. Cox has also been part of many regional and international exhibitions including the International Professional Artist Symposium and Exchange (IPASE) project, Funky Nassau in Weisbaden Germany, Wrestling with the Image in Washington DC and Master Artists of the Bahamas in Waterloo, Iowa, to name a few. Cox is the chief curator at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. He previously taught in the art department at the College of the Bahamas for six years. He is also the founder of Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts—an artists’ cooperative.

Annalee Davis

annlee

Abstract

The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. is a Caribbean non-profit, artist-led, inter-disciplinary organization that supports creatives and promotes wise social, economic, and environmental stewardship through creative engagement with society and by cultivating excellence in the arts. This presentation speaks to Fresh Milk as an Art Project, an Experiment and an Act of Resistance within a challenging national context of limited infrastructural support for contemporary creatives. The continual emergence of informal networks throughout the region speaks to the desperate need for exchange among contemporary practitioners. Facilitating a nurturing environment to foster the labour of creatives and a more expansive cultural arena is what we aim to do while seeking alternate models for viability. The intention of this presentation is to express a vision for a way forward and highlight the first year of activities on the FRESH MILK platform from August 2011 to October 2012. Its programming reflects a commitment to bringing

people and ideas together through public events, on and off site residencies, exhibitions, screenings, artist talks etc.

Bio:

Annalee Davis is a Visual Artist. She has been making and showing her work regionally and internationally since returning to the Caribbean in 1989. She is the founder of The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc, an artist led initiative and informal platform for exchanges among contemporary practitioners/thinkers/writers/makers that aims to support interactions across disciplines contributing to an increasingly rich discourse surrounding creative production within the informal networks of the Caribbean and its diaspora. She writes a monthly column called Musings from the Milking Parlour for the e-newspaper, Barbados Today and is a part-time tutor in the BFA programme at the Barbados Community College. For more on her practice, visit www.annaleedavis.com and to view the Fresh Milk blog visit www.freshmilkbarbados.com

 

Abstracts for the group panel Monday October 15th 2012 – ‘Shaping a creative industry for practitioners from the Caribbean’

(I) Rocio Aranda-Alvarado will share her experiences about collaborations with smaller non-profits, community organizations, government agencies and other institutions for the expansion of culture and the increased recognition of local and international artists.

 

(II) Paco Barragan – Caribbean Art: between Paradise and Social Media

The Caribbean has been traditionally known and still is known as a tourist destination and as a privileged paradise on earth. From an artistic point of view, the Caribbean region still has very low exposure within the artistic mainstream.

Is a regional strategy via national and international exhibitions promoting the art of the Caribbean – like for example has been the case with Chinese art – the right focus? Or should artists be promoted on a less regional or passport strategy and included in international concept-based exhibitions? How does the Caribbean come to life to international curators and art critics who ultimately decide the success of an artist? Is geography important in order to attain international success in the art world or can you achieve it outside the metropolis of the mainstream? And, can social media be of any help in order to enhance the visibility of Caribbean artists in the international arena?

(III) Holly Bynoe

This presentation will focus on the role of the Internet in democratizing the fields of representation, and contrarily working against artists as they are unable to productively engage with social media, virtual platforms and the limitations they engender in creative ways. This will be presented in tandem with the challenges that globalization presents to emerging artists, and how the cultural economies that exist in the Anglophone Caribbean are exploitative rather than nurturing. To this effect a set of possible scenarios will be brought into question that will allow the artist to understand hierarchies of power and the critical mass that needs to be created in order to combat limitations, isolation and non-

practice.

 

(IV) John Cox – NAGB – POPOP – COB / Weaving Fabric

The need for collaboration is at the core of sustainability and positive reception by both public and private support systems. As the visual art culture continues to evolve and progress at a rapid rate, we in the Bahamas are forced to realize the need for collaboration and demystifying myths about distant sectors of society.

– College of The Bahamas – Visual arts Program / History.
– Popopstudios – How the internal community fosters connectivity to brother institutions. – National Art Gallery of The Bahamas – Overview and History.
– Mutual support systems and their effect on public and private support.
– Transforming Spaces – An 8 year model of collaboration.

The focus of this presentation aims to map out the current cultural landscape of Barbados. I will do this by looking at the approach this nation’s Ministry of Culture has taken in relation to the drafting of a Cultural Industries Bill (CIB) and its attempt to enact this bill as law. The importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated given that it may become a template for other CARICOM countries drafting their own CIB’s. Controversy around the CIB reveals a tenuous cultural ecosystem in Barbados, exposing a profound detachment between policy makers and creative practitioners. Instead of stimulating a vibrant arts community, what has been laid bare for all to see is the state’s ‘vision’ of the creative sector as the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg.

My related involvement with a group of concerned cultural activists includes critical responses to the deficiencies in the CIB and demands that the state engage in a participatory consultative process where all stakeholders’ voices are heard.

There are deeper implications of this poorly drafted CIB for contemporary creatives, in that it intends to transform all creatives into ‘entrepreneurs’ and every inspired gesture into a ‘product’. The challenge emerging is one that begs the nation and the region to reflect on how we might build healthy creative economies supported by effective legislation and backed by robust cultural policies; allowing creatives to sustain their practice within the region while making a decent livelihood.

What models might we envision to nurture the Caribbean’s cultural ecosystem in times such as these and what role do the informal networks and concerned cultural activists have to play in the transformation of this space?

 

(V) Annalee Davis – A Case Study in the Drafting of a National Cultural Industries Bill

The focus of this presentation aims to map out the current cultural landscape of Barbados. I will do this by looking at the approach this nation’s Ministry of Culture has taken in relation to the drafting of a Cultural Industries Bill (CIB) and its attempt to enact this bill as law. The importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated given that it may become a template for other CARICOM countries drafting their own CIB’s. Controversy around the CIB reveals a tenuous cultural ecosystem in Barbados, exposing a profound detachment between policy makers and creative practitioners. Instead of stimulating a vibrant arts community, what has been laid bare for all to see is the state’s ‘vision’ of the creative sector as the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg.

My related involvement with a group of concerned cultural activists includes critical responses to the deficiencies in the CIB and demands that the state engage in a participatory consultative process where all stakeholders’ voices are heard.

There are deeper implications of this poorly drafted CIB for contemporary creatives, in that it intends to transform all creatives into ‘entrepreneurs’ and every inspired gesture into a ‘product’. The challenge emerging is one that begs the nation and the region to reflect on how we might build healthy creative economies supported by effective legislation and backed by robust cultural policies; allowing creatives to sustain their practice within the region while making a decent livelihood.

What models might we envision to nurture the Caribbean’s cultural ecosystem in times such as these and what role do the informal networks and concerned cultural activists have to play in the transformation of this space?

 

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