CARIBBEAN

Carlo Reyes | David Gumbs | Katherine Kennedy | Michèle Pearson Clarke | Nick and Alberta Whittle | Olivia McGilchrist | Romel Jean Pierre | Versia Harris


Carlo Reyes

Dominican Republic

Carlo Reyes, 1983, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Graduated from Parsons School of Design, he worked as an art director for several magazines in Santo Domingo as he also developed design and image making projects. His interest in photography opened up his curiosity in film, seeing it as an opportunity to tell stories that sensitize, taking the spectator to other realities. Until now he has made two short films, Viernes Santo a magic religious story about the sugar cane cutting occupation and Water Delivery, a very short story about the drinking water delivery job in Santo Domingo.

Viernes Santo

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2014, Short fIlm.

Eliazar, a sugar cane cuter in Dominican Republic, is in a state of oblivion by the great physical effort his job demands. He looks for relief in the religious groups of the community, until one day he meets his destiny face to face.

 


David Gumbs 

Saint Martin

David Gumbs is a multimedia artist from the small island of Saint-Martin. As a Multimedia artist, painter, photographer, and experimental video artist, his work challenges the offscreen of perception, the cycle of life, the visible and invisible, and rhizome graphical macroscopic universes. He Majored in Interactive Multimedia Conception at “Les Ateliers, L’ENSCI” of Paris in 2002. After graduating from five years at the visual arts school in Fort-de-France in Martinique in 2001. Where he teaches Multimedia, Transmedia and Motion design since 2009. His work was shown at the Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival – New Medias in 2014, at the Transformining Spaces, Bahamas 2014, at the Beep Bop Boop New Media Festival – Florida 2014, at the BIAC Biennal – Martinique 2013, at Art Bémao New media selection in Guadeloupe 2013, at Happy Island Project Biennal – Aruba 2012, and at the prestigious Latitudes 2009, Paris City Hall in 2009.

Offscreen 

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2013, Video installation

Offscreen is a triptych monumental video installation based on the viewer’s hidden memory. Created from patterns gathered in nature, minerals and objects collected on the coasts of the islands of the Caribbean. Offscreen scrolls as a key revelation of inner universes. “Are offscreen all things, all ideas that we do not see, or we do not think of. Indeed, it is mainly the concept more or less hidden from the stock which is the of-screen and produces a huge impact on the vision: the invisible invasion of the field by which cannot be found only in the form of occultation or absence.” Le Traité du regard, Alain Beltzung, Revue Question de, n°112 – Albin Michel.

In continuation of the series of photographs Ecorc(é) This reflection explores the medium of interactive 3D and real-time video, characteristic notions of specific interactive digital arts. Through this process, without falling into the trap of illustration, David Gumbs explores microscopic fragments of tropical flora to borrow new aesthetics, new hypnotic, subliminal and hybrid landscapes. These explorations question the perception, the notion of scale, the detail that draw from memory. The universes generated, create attempts to unconscious accesses, to the viewer’s hidden imagination by vibration through the construction and deconstruction of the image. Still according to Alain Beltzung “Representing things is the basis of our cerebral. Not only is any memory  representation, but also any kind of thinking as well because we figure out what we want to comprehend. An action to be taken is frst subjected to an estimate: we represent it using borrowed memory elements to make a choice according to acceptable or unacceptable aspects of this representation.” The patterns gathered in nature, the minerals, the objects collected on the coasts of the islands of the Caribbean, scroll as a key revelation of inner universes.

Indeed, the work generated in real time deceives the eye by creating both a sense of familiarity and a disturbing repetition that sometimes reminds one of microscopic creatures, crawling, rolling, and as well as some fractal architectures. Moreover, the symmetry of certain events can be interpreted as a Rorschach test (a clinical tool for assessing psychological projective developed by psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in1921). Snapshots taken from real-time video hint architectures of imagination. From this symmetry also springs constitution inherent to Life, to Nature. Nature is repetition, symmetry and asymmetry, microscopic and macroscopic. Nature is harmony.


Katherine Kennedy 

Barbados

Katherine Kennedy is an artist and writer. She graduated from Lancaster University, UK with a degree in Creative Arts; her combined major of Fine Art and Creative Writing helped develop her keen interests in both visual and literary pursuits. Since returning home, she has remained immersed in creativity by completing a local artist residency, contributing to ARC Magazine by writing for their online forum, and working with both ARC and the Fresh Milk Art Platform as assistant to the directors. Her visual practice is heavily tied to a sense of place, and often deals with interplay between found organic and inorganic objects, used as a way of asserting cultural identity in different environments. Katherine travelled to the Instituto Buena Bista (IBB), Curaçao in November 2012 to take part in a two week collaborative project between the IBB and Fresh Milk, and undertook a residency at The Vermont Studio Center in May 2013. In September 2013, she took part in an intensive week-long mentorship programme at Casa Tomada, Sao Paulo, Brazil. From September to November 2014, she represented Fresh Milk on a three-month fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany awarded by ResArtis.

Anthesis

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2013, Animation stop-motion

An·the·sis: The period during which a flower is fully open and functional. It may also refer to onset of that period. Anthesis of flowers is sequential within an inflorescence, so when the style and perianth are different colours, the result is a striking colour change that gradually sweeps along the inflorescence.

My practice has always been heavily grounded in my environment, whether foreign or familiar, and this piece stems from time spent in Vermont, USA. Being there during May meant I was surrounded by the temperamental spring season, which on the one hand brought to mind flowers opening like the pastel coloured blooms covering the trees, but this beauty still felt impersonal to me. Not having a seasonal climate in the Caribbean, there is not the same anticipation of budding life escaping winter, and so spring did not feel as natural to me as its connotations would suggest. The flower-like form of the object used in this work straddles organic and manmade imagery, and the mechanical unfurling of a ‘metal flower’ that mimicked the environment’s colour palate made more sense to me under those conditions, as well as the desire to activate and give value to a seemingly innocuous, displaced utensil. I view Anthesis as a reflection on literal nature versus what feels natural in a given cultural context.


Michèle Pearson Clarke

Trinidad & Tobago / Canada 

Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born artist who works in photography, film, video and installation. Using archival, performative and process-oriented strategies, her work explores queer and black diasporic longing and loss. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival (2014), Images Festival (2015) and Parade of Champions (2015) at Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto. She holds a BAH in Psychology from Queen’s University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. Currently Michèle is on the boards of the Feminist Art Gallery and Gallery 44, and she is completing an MFA in Documentary Media Studies at Ryerson University.

All That is Left Unsaid

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2014, Short Experimental Documentary

With Audre Lorde acting as both subject and surrogate, All That is Left Unsaid is a daughter’s elegy for her mother. Both women lived with cancer for 14 years, and the absence of their wisdom, guidance and love is experienced as an ongoing loss. This short, experimental documentary reflects on all other black women gone too soon, in contemplating this aspect of grief.


Nick and Alberta Whittle

Barbados 

Nick Whittle is a graduate from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and has lived and worked in Barbados since 1979. Regardless of scale or medium his practice explores geographical and historical encounters. Through a stream of consciousness process, he reveals feelings of alienation and connectedness. Much of his work is inspired by what was once described as “an ongoing interest in the narrow strip of land between high and low water.” His practice is interdisciplinary and encompasses sculpture, poetry, video, installation, painting and printmaking.

Alberta Whittle is a PhD candidate at the University of the Western Cape, where she is a Carnegie Mellon Fellow. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Glasgow School of Art. Whittle makes collaged sculptural forms, using video, painting and textile processes. She choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces, including at the Royal Scottish Academy, BOZAR (Belgium), David Dale Gallery (Glasgow), National Art Gallery (Bahamas) and at the Centre for African Studies (South Africa). Her practice is concerned with the construction of stereotypes of race, nationality and gender, considering the motivation behind their perpetuation and the different forms in which they are manifested.

This is not my land, not my island

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2014, Video work

This is not my land, is not my island begins with the childhood memory of ‘Listen with Mother’ a BBC radio programme, “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…” This opening soundtrack provokes an uncomfortable sense of nostalgia, which simultaneously refers to the notion of “Mother England” as well as to childhood and to play. Play as a means of experimenting and exploring ideas is part of our shared methodology and by positioning myself within the realm of the imaginary, where I perform different motions, attempting to sail away, whilst landlocked. The video developed out of footage filmed whilst NickWhittle participated on an artist in residency programme at the Instituto Buena Bista in Curaçao. Whilst making and researching, I found myself drawn to the action of making origami boats out of paper, large enough to sit in. I experimented with performing in these boats at various locations in Barbados and in Curaçao. The mythology and consistent presence of the sea and of water are significant icons of adventure, escape and “unbelonging”.


Olivia McGilchrist 

Jamaica

Olivia Mc Gilchrist is a Jamaican-French visual artist who’s alter-ego Whitey explores physical expressions of emotional states in the search for cultural identity. She troubles her post-colonial white Creole female identity by remapping it within the tropical picturesque through photographs, performances and multi-layered videos. Whitey’s placement in the Jamaican landscape questions the role of racial, social and gender based categorization, classification and discrimination in the contemporary Caribbean space. Born in Kingston, Jamaica to a French mother and a Jamaican father. Olivia grew up in France and was educated in the UK. In 2010 she completed her Master’s in Photography at the London College of Communications and, in 2011, she returned to Kingston to work as a Curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) and a Lecturer in Photography and New Media at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. Her work has been shown in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada, Brazil, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France. In 2013, she won the Trinidad & Tobago film festival and ARC Magazine New Media Prize and was chosen by the NGJ as one of ten emerging artists in Jamaica.

Riva Mumma

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2013, Video installation

This work focuses on the Riva Mumma, or Rivermaid, a Jamaican incarnaton of the more universal mermaid figure.By imbuing three women with atributes of this character, the work portrays evocatve moments from the various Jamaican tales surrounding her; as a startng point for discussions on current gender and identty constructs in the local and regional arena. Natve Girl, the larger body of work in which this piece was created, is an expansion of the whitey theme and re-investgates several Jamaican mythical and legendary female characters, such as the Riva Mumma, Queen Nanny and Old Higue, portraying evocatve moments from these legendary Jamaican tales.


Romel Jean Pierre

Haiti

Born in Port-at-Prince in 1993, Romel Jean Pierre always wanted to be a politician. However, from when he heard of the artist collective the Grand Rue, “Atis Rezistans”, he felt a kind of attraction; “When I heard them speak, I said, I have to go to this place. I have to know what is happening there, because I’m still very passionate about art.” He discovered a passion for film while working on his project “Tele Ghetto” (a TV program about ghetto the Grand Street in Port au Prince) of which he is cofounder and producer. Romel Jean Pierre progressively acquired many skills in video art from the Haitian media artist Maksaens Denis. In August 2010, he participated in the Young Energies Summer Camp in Berlin. His work has been published in the magazine “France 24 Observers”And also in” Geo Ado “. Romel presented many videos of performances in 2009-2012 and has appeared in exhibitions and events worldwide throughout 2011-2013. Romel’s creative work focuses on cultural and social themes that are mostly related to his Haitian reality.

Al fè tèt ou 

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2011, Video work

“This is a mix of Chaos and feelings after the 2010 earthquake and a representation of everything i assisted with in my community , also the integration of religion in everything al fe tet ou, it’s my testimony of my life after the earthquake.”


Versia Harris

Barbados

Versia Harris is a Barbadian artist living and working in Weston, St. James, Barbados. In 2012, she graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from the Barbados Community College, with an award from the Lesley’s Legacy Foundation. She has participated in six residencies regionally and internationally and her work has been shown in Moscow and Berlin. Her animation ‘They Say You Can Dream a Thing More Than Once’ was awarded Best New Media Film at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, 2014. Versia tackles perceptions of fantasy in contrast to the reality of characters of her own invention. She uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate her drawings to create animations.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes when it’s Awake

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2012, Animation

My work explores the fantasies and experiences of a character of my own invention. This character, the swan headed woman, is introduced to the animations of Walt Disney and consequently layers what she desires from these animations onto her life. Her perception of and relationship with her world changes as she compares her reality with the fantasies of the Disney stories. She struggles with her perception of self as she appears in complete contrast with the Disney princesses. Sparked by my interest in storytelling, I created this character and story to generate a comparison between the iconography of Disney and the reality ‘she’ knew. I have fabricated this narrative to address how one can be influenced by the media. How the things that we see read or hear create a desire in us to possess those things and eventually integrate them into our reality only to consume them again. Yet I am also fascinated by the ways in which the very things that we desire from fantasy can elude our grasp while changing the way we interact with what we see and feel around us. Are fantasy and reality as distinct from each other as one would? ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes When You’re Awake’ and ‘They Say You Can Dream a Thing More Than Once’ are the two animations I have created to express the tension between a reality and the desire for a different reality.

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