Past Event

On Interpretation

On 27 November 2014 ICF presented On Interpretation, a panel discussion at CCW Graduate School, London with speakers Robert Storr, Bernd Behr and Rebecca Heald at CCW Graduate School. The event explored the relationship between the exhibition maker and the interpretation of the artist’s work, especially in the context of the Venice Biennale. The evening began with a keynote presentation by Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art who, in 2007, was the first American Commissioner of the Venice Biennale and has been described as a vital link between the museum world and academia. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion chaired by David A Bailey, Visiting Professor at CCW and the Creative Director of ICF.  Panel members included Rebecca Heald, independent curator and tutor for the Royal College of Art Curating Contemporary Art programme and Bernd Behr, artist, lecturer in photography at UAL and participant in the 2013 Venice Biennale Taiwan Pavilion. 

Curating the Black Diaspora

Curating the Black Diaspora

 

On 16 November 2012 ICF presented a one day symposium that aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange between contemporary art curators in the UK, the Caribbean and elsewhere. The event explored models for collaborative and inclusive art/curatorial practices, and examined the Caribbean ‘diaspora’ as its defining characteristic. The discussion investigated how diaspora may transform our current globalised curatorial practice, its reception and its attendant discourses. The event was supported by the Commonwealth Foundation and presented in partnership with the Barbados Museum & Historical Society and the V&A.

Panel 1:
Veerle Poupeye (National Gallery of Jamaica), Holly Parotti (2010 National Exhibition at the National Gallery of the Bahamas), chaired by Alissandra Cummins (Barbados Museum & Historical Society) 

Panel 2: 
Sonia Boyce (artist, UK) in conversation with Allison Thompson (art historian, Barbados) on Boyce’s video work Crop Over
Paul Goodwin (curator, UK) on Caribbean visual discourse and literature 
Alanna Lockward (curator, Dominican Republic) on curating the Caribbean

Followed by a tour of the V&A exhibition Hidden Histories & a publication launch for Curating in the Caribbean

On 17 & 18 November 2012 ICF facilitated a tour of major exhibitions in Nottingham and Liverpool for the visiting curators. The group visited:

Kafou: Haiti, Art & Vodou (Nottingham Contemporary), the major exhibition of Haitian art in the UK for many years. Featuring nearly 200 paintings, sculptures and flags by 35 artists from the 1940s to present day, the exhibition traced the historical representation of Vodou and the supernatural in Haiti. 
I Is Another Part Two (New Art Exchange), marking the 50th anniversary of Jamaica independence with new installations by Ebony G. Patterson and Peter Dean Rickards. 
The Unfinished Conversation (The Bluecoat) John Akonfrah’s new 3-screen film about theorist and writer Stuart Hall.
The Liverpool Biennial with meetings with members of the Liverpool Biennial team and the Director of the Bluecoat 
A special performance curated by ICF co-founder Mark Waugh

Curating in the Caribbean

Curating in the Caribbean

Curating in the Caribbean

Curating in the Caribbean is a publication produced in 2012 that brings together a wide range of authors, all of whom were born and/or work in the Caribbean, who were invited to contribute essays which explore the current curatorial drive within the Caribbean. The theme of curatorship is considered in its broadest context, and encompasses many different projects and initiatives aimed at creating a platform for the visual arts, making visual art ‘visible’ by bringing it to a wider audience and broadening the critical discussion around it.

Curating in the Caribbean is a unique document—unique in the sense of its Caribbean perspective and unique in how the project emerged out of the Black Diaspora Visual Arts (BDVA) programme. This programme began in 2007 as a strategic legacy of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade commemorative year, led by the Barbados National Art Gallery Committee and the International Curators Forum (ICF)—a UK-based network set up to address emerging international issues and a range of themes related to contemporary curatorial practice in the Black Diaspora and visual culture in the twenty-first century.

  • The BDVA programme has included exhibitions, installations and arts events, as well as a series of salons, seminars, symposia and conferences hosted in Barbados and benefitting other parts of the Caribbean. Its aims include:
    Raising the profile locally, nationally and internationally of Barbadian visual artists and curators
  • Inviting international visual artists and curators to Barbados to establish different fora for intercultural dialogue and professional development opportunities
  • Preparing a 10 year strategic plan for the project in conjunction with the next ‘Grand Tour’ in 2017, during the Venice Biennale and Documenta.

A number of leading scholars, curators and artists have been invited to participate in intercultural dialogue and knowledge exchange at symposia held in March 2008 and February 2009, the latter taking as its starting point generational shifts in the post-war history of the Black Diasporic arts.

The third symposium in the series on ‘Caribbean Curatorship and National Identity’ took place in Barbados on 1 December 2009, as part of a broader conference in collaboration with the Museums Association of the Caribbean, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and the International Council of Museums. The symposium focused on the intercultural competencies that support the professional development of cultural leaders and the promotion of formal and informal peer support networks with arts practitioners in Barbados and the Caribbean Islands across the Black Diaspora.

It was in support of BDVA’s strategic plan, that the National Art Gallery Committee and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society collaborated with the Prince Claus Fund, the International Curators Forum and The Green Box on the production of a publication on the theme of Curating in the Caribbean as a forum for the visual arts. It was envisaged that this publication will document the ideas generated and progress made to date in artistic and professional quality with recommendations on frameworks and platforms for future international cultural and knowledge exchange across the Black Diaspora.

In this context it was always envisaged that the publication will be used as an advocacy document to raise the international profile of artists and curators living and working in the Caribbean Islands, and to promote opportunities for international exchanges between visual arts agencies and institutions across the Diaspora.

Curating in the Caribbean seeks to contextualise the cultural production of post-war Black Art against the background of generational shifts as a result of migration across the Diaspora. Furthermore, the publication has proven both relevant and instructive for delivering a Caribbean agenda of social inclusion and community cohesion by using visual art as a medium for breaking the silences common in the post-colonial constellation of developing countries. The publication will be an important addition to the canon of Caribbean art literature.

Finally, we see Curating in the Caribbean as a strategic platform for intercultural exchange between artists, curators, gallery directors and scholars living and working in the Caribbean and the broader region, helping to deliver globally new international working and adult education outreach programmes, through skills development and knowledge exchange. The publication acts as an agency to the power of culture, through providing intellectual ballast and new audiences for the canon of social commentary produced by Caribbean visual artists.

Edited by David A. Bailey, Alissandra Cummins, Axel Lapp and Allison Thompson

Included essays:
José Manuel Noceda Fernández – Islands in the Sun – Caribbean Art in the 1990s
Claire Tancons – Curating Carnival? Performance in Contemporary Caribbean Art
Barbara Prézeau Stephenson – Haiti Now – The Art of Mutants
Sara Herman – Unconscious Curatorships
Krista A. Thompson – How to Install Art as a Caribbeanist
Winston Kellman – The Invisibility of the Visual Arts in the Barbadian Consciousness
Jennifer Smit – Curating in Curaçao
Dominique Brebion – Act Locally and Think Globally
Veerle Poupeye – Curating in the Caribbean – Changing Curatorial Practice and Contestation in Jamaica

Purchase the book or Purchase the e-book via The Green Box Publishers (ISBN 978-3-941644-32-8)

This book was made possible with support from  Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development

Afterimage: Engagements with the Cinematic

Afterimage: Engagements with the Cinematic

 

Running alongside the Encounters Film Festival, ICF produced a two-day intervention (18 & 19 November 2011) at the Arnolfini in Bristol, threading together responses to the multiplicity of issues that impact on the production, distribution and critical reflection of the moving image in an era of mass and intimate media.

Inspirational, internationally acclaimed artists, curators and agencies were brought together to discuss and reflect on the historical and contemporary impact of cinema as both an industry and scene of cultural production. For the first time the focus was on discussing how artists have engaged with the mainstream processes of production in cinema whilst retaining their aesthetic and political edge. The discussions also explored how this dialogue between cinema, gallery and digital platforms can challenge the artist and curator to find new ways to make the staging of vision memorable.

18 November
4:30 – 19:00
Masterclass: David A Bailey in conversation with Mike Dibb
This session was an opportunity to gain an intimate yet detailed experience of Dibb’s work. Mike Dibb has been making films for television and mainstream cinema for nearly 50 years. During that time he has defined and re-defined not only the televisual art documentary genre but has been able to make moving image pieces as a form of self portraiture. The masterclass was followed by a premier screening of Mike Dibb’s 75min film Playing Against Time.

Playing Against Time by Mike Dibb, 2011
A powerful and moving ‘medical/musical’ exploration of Parkinson’s Disease, featuring the virtuoso UK jazz saxophonist/composer Barbara Thompson and her husband, the jazz-rock drummer Jon Hiseman. For over forty years the saxophonist/composer Barbara Thompson has been Britain’s most brilliant and best-known woman jazz musician. Her original compositions and soaring improvisations have attracted large and enthusiastic audiences beyond the confines of contemporary jazz. She’s released many albums and toured regularly throughout Europe, mainly with her own band Paraphernalia. Then, tragically, in 1997 Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and by 2001 had to stop playing in public. Since 2003 various new drugs have restored intermittent mobility in her fingers, miraculously allowing her to play again – but for how long? Playing against Time is a 75 minute documentary about Barbara’s inspiring struggle with this degenerative disease of the central nervous system that has increasingly affected her life and work. Written and directed by the award-winning arts documentary film maker Mike Dibb, it has been made across a period of five years with the support of The Wellcome Trust and now been acquired by the BBC for UK TV transmission on dates to be confirmed. Interweaving musical and medical sequences, Playing against Time follows Barbara and Jon as they try to pursue their lives as musicians while struggling with uncertain- ties over Barbara’s worsening condition and the side-effects of her medication.The film features a remarkably intimate look at their daily life as well as following the couple through their consultations at London’s King’s College Hospital with Professor Ray Chaudhuri and with Oxford Professor Tipu Aziz, the UK’s leading authority on deep brain stimulation by implanted electrodes.

19 November
10:30 – 12:30
Panel discussion: The spectacle of the performer
This session provided a unique insight into the imaginations of the performer/artists – what she/he feels, sees, imagines and re-imagines rather than a dialectic relationship between spectator/voyeur and audience. This idea of performance, the art object, the artists and the subject has been an important theme in contemporary art for a number of artists.
The panellist are: Mike Dibb, Gary Stewart, Judy Price and Sonia Boyce.

Crop Over by Sonia Boyce, 2007
“Sonia Boyce’s two-screen video Crop Over (2007) visually samples the many traditions, histories and cultural practices that inform this Barbadian festival, culminating with the carnivalesque parade known as Kadooment. Presenting a wide range of related performances, some real and some staged by the artist, Boyce constructs a pseudo-documentary, pseudo-pantomime collage of events that subtly reveals the multiple dimensions of this creolized spectacle, deliberately building up layers of interpretation and presentation that seek to identify, historicize and problematize these cultural icons. Unlike many of the pre-lenten carnivals in the region, Crop Over celebrates the end of the sugar cane season, and directly ties the subversive elements and inversions of traditional carnival to the sugar economy of the Caribbean, with its relationship to families like the Lascelles of Harewood House in the UK, and their historical dependence on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. While traditional representations of Carnival by artists such as Belisario are marked, according to Stuart Hall, by what is not said, Boyce’s Crop Over is motivated by what remains unexplained.” (Allison Thompson, Small Axe (Vol 13, No 2) June 2009.)

13:30 – 15:00
Panel discussion: Narrative
How moving image works deploy elements of storytelling, myths and legends has been closely linked with the notion of how artists have dealt with this theme through their exploration of how these so called narrative tales are re- worked within the machinery of popular culture.
The panellist are John Sealy, Anthony Gross and Campbell X.

15:30 – 17:00.
Presentations: Moving image commissions & collections.
At the beginning of the 21st century there has been a massive shift in relation to moving image art commissions. Established visual art organisations have now developed moving image projects as a major element in their organisation mission to the point where over the last 20 years significant art organisations and moving image agencies have dramatically change the parameters in relation to moving image commissions and how that work is archive and collected. This session focused on 2 moving image art institutions and collections – Lux presented by Gil Leung and Artangel presented by Eleanor Nairne.
Following on from this presentation there was special screening of Omer Fast’s Venice 2011 project and the launch of his book In Memory.

Five Thousand Feet Is Best by Omer Fast, 2011
Omer Fast’s film Five Thousand Feet Is Best takes its name from an excerpt of an interview between Fast and a Predator Drone aerial vehicle operator now based in Las Vegas and working as a casino security guard. The operator recalls his jobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, activating the unmanned plane to fire at civilians and militia from the optimum height of five thousand feet. For the large part Fast shows us reconstructions of the interview and memories, using actors and a more cinematic aesthetic. The re-enacted interview takes place inside a Las Vegas hotel room, the operator awkwardly propped-up on the bed, as if ambushed there by Diane Arbus for his portrait. The actor operator is defensive, while the genuine one is more confessional: ‘there was such a loss of life as a direct result of me’, he says. Despite his frankness, we know that the operator broke off the interview with Fast, and often diverted the discussion to anecdotes from his current life policing the casino. His excuse was that ‘we tell these stories to make life a little less boring’, but it is clear that the stories offer an escape from memories and guilt rooted far from Las Vegas. This evasion technique becomes integral to Fast’s reconstructed footage, the interview constantly digressing into vignettes of casino fraud and robbery. Fast is constantly provoking the audience’s certainty and empathy.
In addition to a constant undermining of what has been said, the film contains much ambiguity. As the operator describes a roadside bombing mission, we see an American family pack into a car and embark on a road trip. Leaving suburbia, they soon drive through terrain that might, it suddenly seems, be Middle Eastern. The voiceover offers no clarification; ‘In these parts of the country, it’s hard to get lost …’ Likewise, Fast interweaves aerial views from Las Vegas (including its version of Venice’s St Mark’s and Rialto, a disorientating experience in itself for those watching the film at the Biennale in Venice, Italy) with military aerial surveillance footage from the Middle East. This juxtaposition of pleasure and military flights only becomes more uncomfortable as we realise the American car trip narrative is about to collide with the Drone operation one. Thus the family’s car is caught in the fire from five thousand feet, and as the smoke clears, we see that its occupants are motionless and bloody. Then, in a characteristic twist, Fast has the family get up from their slumped positions, clamber out of the wrecked car, and walk off set, exposing themselves as actors in the story. We watch, feeling duped and insecure – by now completely unable to trust what is shown us, and yet equally unable to feel nothing.

17:30 – 18:30.
Caribbean cinema club screenings.
Working in Trinidad with Chris Ofili and several local artists, Peter Doig established the StudioFilmClub at CCA, the Centre For Contemporary Arts, which became a way to show to a mass audience classic films by Caribbean artists such as Horace Ove, as well as work by up and coming emerging artists. It is our intention as a homage to present: The Cinema Club, a screening of rarely seen but influential films that reflect the Caribbean and might define the genealogy of the moving image as an art form.

Breathe by Holly Parotti, 2011
“Take a deep breath, you’ll feel better” is often advised when someone is under emotional duress. Breathing exercises are recommended to manage anxiety and bring relaxation. Drawing oxygen into the body followed by expelling carbon dioxide can be almost involuntary although it is inherent. Breathe looks at the physical mechanics of the body while in the process of trying to calm a body during hyperventilation. The use of x-ray imagery and the awkward movement of a starkly contrasted body under stress attempts to illustrate the fragility of the human body performing such a basic yet vital routine.

Ragga Gyal D’Bout! by Campbell X, 1993
Dancehall music is often portrayed as sexist and homophobic, yet many Black women are ardent fans. Ragga Gyal D’Bout! explores the complexity and layering of music, identity, desire culture and politics. The women in this short film surprise us with their responses as they show there are no easy answers or solutions to loving a music genre vilified by LGBT activists and feminists.

Town and Cape Town by Sheena Rose, 2009
The primary focus of my animation is something that I can arguably say everyone struggles with, and that is constantly thinking about our daily problems. There are not very many times during the day when our minds are at rest. We are always dwelling on something that we need to do; a broken relationship, how we are going to manage paying the electricity bill.I am interested in the daily lives of Barbadian people, especially with what is going on in their minds. Cape Town is an animation that is about the busy urban life style and experience of Cape Town. The animation is not a narrative, it is more abstracted. It is focusing on the shopping stores, signs and shopping windows. It would let the viewers realise that our mind collects information subconsciously and it creates a very abstract story.

Diable Rouge by Christian Bertin, 2010
A documented live performance in Paris by the Martinique artist Christian Bertin.
The work of Christian Bertin revolves around the ideas of Aimé Césaire. It was Aimé Césaire who not only inspired Bertin but also supported his sponsorship to art school. In Bertin performance the artist carried a large red drum container (which he calls the devil) which has in its container small quotes from Aimé Césaire writings which is printed on small sheets of paper. Bertin then hands out the Césaire quotes to the audience. In this interactive performance Bertin takes on the form/persona of a carnival performer using the red container as a mask and the Aimé Césaire quotes as the vocal performative discourse.

19:00 – 20:00
Moving image and sound performance.
Gary Stewart presents a moving image and sound based new work.

About the participants

The work of Martinique artist Christian Bertin revolves around two concerns: the eruption of Mont Pelé and the slave trade. For Bertin, these two events, tied for the first to violence of natural elements and the second to the violence of people around the triangular trade, are significant dramas that have deeply marked the life and imagination of Martinique and whose traces are still visible today, in the expression of the ‘hurt’ that inhabits much of Martinique.

Sonia Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning black British art-scene of that time, with drawings that spoke about racial identity and gender in Britain. Her current practice is based on working with other people in improvised and performative situations. The outcomes of many of the works are often concerned with sound, social space and incorporating the spectator. Since 1983, Boyce has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and internationally, she has just completed an AHRC Research Fellowship at the University of the Arts London, and holds a Visiting Professorship at Middlesex University, in the Department of Fine Art.

Campbell X is an award-winning filmmaker/curator and has written/produced and directed Stud Life an urban queer feature film which is currently in post- production. Campbell’s films include the award-winning BD Women (1994), Viva Tabatha (1996) and Paradise Lost (2003). She made Broken Chain (2008) a BBC/Film collaboration. Other titles include the award-winning Legacy (2006) which explores the lasting impact of slavery on Black families and Fem (2007), a butch homage to queer femininity. Campbell’s body of work was honoured by the Queer Black Cinema festival in New York in March 2009. Image, Memory and Representation was a retrospective of her work which was programmed at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2007. She has published extensively on film, sexuality and gender.

Mike Dibb is an award-winning documentary producer/director, who for many years has been making films for television on subjects ranging from cinema and music to art, sport, literature and popular culture. These include the hugely influential BBC series (and subsequent book) Ways of Seeing – with John Berger, two films on Spain’s great cultural archetypes In Pursuit of Don Juan and The Further Adventures of Don Quixote and 3 multi-part themed series on ‘Play’, ‘Time’ and ‘Latin-American Culture’. He has recently made feature length music documentaries on Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett and Astor Piazzolla and just completed Playing against Time, about Parkinson’s disease, featuring the virtuoso UK jazz saxophonist/composer Barbara Thompson.

In his works which are strongly influenced by the history and politics of the current day, Omer Fast scrutinises the value of experience in society. He of- ten takes actual events or incidents as his starting point, reconstructing them with the aid of research, interviews or found material. In his intensive film installations, mostly all multi-channel works, history is rendered as ultimately being an intangible fusion of memory and fiction, facts and imagination.

Anthony Gross is an artist film maker primarily engaging with the digital experience. This has led Gross to construct virtual environments and digital objects and to combine those in recent live action film projects that address this specific condition. A process of film making (or rather, digital video making) has been created by an interpreting an internet condition of free sampling, downloads, swaps and customising. This has led to complex soundtracks being created from sound effect libraries, a multilayering of amateur video editing filters available on-line, and a use of film characters as if they were game avatars – opening up questions around authorship, authenticity and the culturally nomadic.

Gil Leung is a writer and curator based in London. She is Distribution Manager at LUX, London and Editor of Versuch journal. She previously worked as
Assistant Curator for Tate Film and Live Programmes and writes for Afterall and various independent publications. // LUX is an international arts agency for the support and promotion of artists’ moving image practice and the ideas that surround it. LUX exists to provide access to, and develop audiences for, artists’ moving image work; to provide professional development support
for artists working with the moving image; and to contribute to and develop discourse around practice.

Eleanor Nairne is Collection Coordinator at Artangel. A regular writer for Frieze and a co-curator of ‘Making a Scene’ at Southampton City Art Gallery, she has also worked recently at the Barbican Art Gallery, where she was Exhibitions Assistant on ‘Watch Me Move’ (June 2011), about the history of animation, and Curatorial Researcher for ‘The Surreal House’ (June 2010). She was awarded a distinction in her Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art and has previously worked for the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Sadie Coles HQ. // Artangel is an organisation renowned for commissioning some of the most controversial contemporary art of recent years, which recently launched their collection in collaboration with Tate.

Holly Parotti received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia in 1997. Printmak- ing is a foundational aspect of her work and in 2002 she held a joint exhibition with her sister Lynn at The Central Bank of the Bahamas entitled ‘Parotti Views’ showing their prints and paintings. From 2004, she held a series of exhibitions including a solo show at Post House Gallery entitled ‘process; ink. pressure, paper.’ In 2005 she started work as the Curatorial Assistant and Collections Manager at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. In 2011 she joined the DAF as the Assistant Director & Curator.

Judy Price is an artist working with moving image whose practice intertwines documentary, the cinematic, fiction and testimony. Price is concerned with how art can reveal the explicit and hidden dynamics of geopolitical forces
in specific geographical places. A focus of her practice for many years
has been Israel and Palestine. She is interested in how art can create new perceptions of the experiences of individuals and cultures and how the artist becomes embedded in a place or culture in the production of work, and, whereby art might become transformative in the role of the artist as political activist.

Sheena Rose is an artist from Barbados who graduated in 2008 with a bachelors degree in Fine Arts from Barbados Community College. She is well known for her hand drawn animations and has exhibited her work across the Caribbean and in South America, in South Africa and in the USA.

Filmmaker John Sealey began his career making short films and specialising in video documentation for artists and galleries. He studied film practice at the University of Wales Newport and went on to do an MA in European Cinema and PhD in Film Practice at the University of Exeter. His practice is grounded in cultural identity and his films interrogate and create new ways of reception within the formulaic structure of classical narrative cinema He currently teaches film studies in the School of Art and Media at Plymouth University. John’s latest project is a re-imagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope on a 360° panoramic screen.

Working with electronic media as an artist, designer, producer and curator over the last twenty years, Gary Stewart has been involved in pioneering initiatives and projects that explore social and political issues through interrogating the relationship between culture, technology and creativity. In particular his work and collaborations with other artists and institutions has sought to find different ways of engaging audiences in the process of exploring what we mean by authorship through the unique opportunities afforded by interactive digital media.

The Caribbean Pavilion

The Caribbean Pavilion

At the Liverpool Biennial 

 

In 2010 ICF presented Three Moments: The Caribbean Pavilion at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial (18 September – 28 November 2010), as part of a grouping of shows titled ‘City States’ exploring the cultural dynamics between cities and states.

The concept for the exhibition was derived from Stuart Hall’s essay Modernity and its Others: Three “Moments” in the Post-War History of the Black Diaspora Arts, which re-visits modernity through three historical art movements from the perspective of the Diaspora. In the exhibition Hall’s three moments are symbolised by three Caribbean islands – the Bahamas, Martinique and Barbados, and ten artists from those islands were selected to exhibit based on their ability to make work that responds to contemporary and historical global themes. The exhibition was curated by Dominique Brebion (Martinique), Alissandra Cummins (Barbados), David A. Bailey (London) and Allison Thompson (Barbados) and presented by ICF.

Exhibiting artists: Ewan Atkinson, Ras Ishi Butcher and Ras Akyem-i Ramsey from Barbados, Christian Bertin and David Damoison from Martinique and John Beadle, Blue Curry, Lavar Munroe, Lynn Parotti and Heino Schmid from the Bahamas

Caribbean Curatorship & National Identity

Caribbean Curatorship and National Identity 

A Black Diaspora / Visual Art Conference at 21st Annual General Meeting of the Museums Association of the Caribbean

30 November – 2 December 2009
Barbados 


The Caribbean Curatorship and National Identity Conference in Barbados is an examination of how history is interpreted and heritage is shaped by communal memory for audiences, old and new, local and foreign. The topic allows for a broad array of issues to be examined in intensive consultation through a regional symposium and master classes to be developed in Barbados between November and December 2009, in conjunction with the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC), the National Art Gallery Committee (NAGC), the International Curators Forum (ICF) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

The three themes for the symposia are Breaking the Silence, Reconstructing/ Deconstructing Identity: Place and Memory, and Generational Shifts Within The Caribbean Diaspora: Wall Based & Post Black Art.

The Black Diaspora Visual Arts (BDVA) Programme, established in 2007, is a strategic partnership between the Barbados National Art Gallery Committee and the International Curators Forum (ICF). The BDVA programme has included arts events, installations and exhibitions complementary to a series of salons, seminars and symposia hosted in Barbados and benefitting other parts of the Caribbean. Its aims include:

• To raise the profile locally, nationally and internationally of Barbadian visual artists and curators
• To invite international visual artists and curators to Barbados to establish fora for intercultural dialogue and professional development opportunities
• To prepare a 10-year strategic plan for the project, including scoping Barbadian representation in the next ‘Grand Tour’ in 2017, coinciding with the Venice Biennale and Documenta.

Owkui Enwezor Keynote Address – ‘Topographies of Critical Practice: Exhibition as Place and Site’ 

Abstract
“The topic of my lecture seeks to thematize and analyze how the discipline of curatorship and exhibitions as sites of knowledge production offer an opportunity to engage a range of diverse issues that constitute the vital stakes in the practice, theory, and production of contemporary art. Over the last two decades the format of the contemporary exhibition has offered a rich ground on which to address questions of historical becoming of a range of artistic practices flowing out of African and African diasporic spaces. These exhibitions are an important reminder that every field or discipline requires a frame, or perhaps, a concatenation of frames within which theoretical reflections and historical analyses could be made. My frame of analysis with regards to my own curatorial work concerns how such a field could be formulated, and what sorts of critical tools are brought to bear in articulating the stances of the curator, the exhibition, the artist, and the work of art. There is at the same time the tension between the contextual ground and the historical question in which such stances take place. These queries may not necessarily begin with issues of disciplinary identification, but may, instead point to what at first may be understood as limiting forms of identification that concern race, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, and ultimately locality. Contemporary African and African diasporic art today are not only fraught disciplinary concepts, more importantly, they are fraught geo-political concepts. My task in this lecture is to seek out how the work of art and the site of exhibitions have been shaping grounds for the manifestation of topographies of critical practice.”

Full Conference Programme

Monday, November 30th (Independence Day)

Symposium 1: Breaking the Silence
Moderator: Peggy McGeary
Speakers: Florence Alexis, Winston C. Campbell, Lonnie Bunch, Kevin Farmer, Nigel Sadler

Symposium 2: Reconstructing/Deconstructing Identity: Place and Memory
Moderator: Alissandra Cummins
Speakers: Staci-Marie Dehaney, Hans-Martin Hinz, Hiromi Shiba, Barbara Prezeau Stephenson

Symposium 2: Reconstructing/Deconstructing Identity: Place and Memory
Speakers: George Abungu, Amareswar Galla, Roslyn Russell, W. Richard West, Jr.

Tuesday, December 1st

Symposium 3: Generational Shifts Within The Caribbean Diaspora
Moderator: David A Bailey
Speaker: Okwui Enwezor

Symposium 3: Generational Shifts Within The Caribbean Diaspora
Panelists: John Akomfrah, Ewan Atkinson, Janice Cheddie, Therese Hadchity, Winston Kellman, Tumelo Mosaka, Keith Piper

Symposium 4: Cultural Leadership: Global Focus
Moderator: Maureen Salmon
Panelists: Julien Anfruns, Alissandra Cummins, Nakazzi Hutchinson, Asif Khan, Basil Springer, Tom Trevor

Networks That Work For You
Moderator: Leslie Taylor
Presentation on Barbados visual arts
(BDVA stakeholders’ group)
Panelists: Graeme Evelyn, Christine Eyene, Tom Finkelpearl

Curators’ Workshops: Sharjah Biennial

Curators’ Workshops: Sharjah Biennial

 

The Curators’ Workshops at the 2009 Sharjah Biennial were part of the larger Middle East Programme funded by the World Collections Programme (WCP). The workshops took place as part of second stage of the project, following on from a period of travel and research undertaken by Tate curators and the Middle East Symposium held at Tate Britain and Tate Modern in January 2009. These workshops were a collaboration between Tate, Sharjah Biennial and ICF.

All three workshop sessions, taking place on the terrace of Shamsi House, were closed to the public and included around 26 emerging curators from the Middle East region and the UK. Each session lasted for around 2 hours, and was chaired by Judith Nesbitt, Frances Morris and Mark Waugh respectively. The sessions began with contributions (in the form of a short talk) from two or three of the participants.

Aims
• To provide a forum for emerging curators from the Middle East and the UK to discuss shared issues and differences
• To provide an opportunity to develop relationships, networks and friendships

Participants
Curators from the Middle East Region: Ala’ Younis, Didem Ozbek, Osman Bozkurt, Hassan Darsi, Mayssa Fattouh, Wassan Al Khundhairi, Shahira Issa, Latifa Bint Maktoum, Haig Aivazian, Reem Fadda and Reem Shilleh 

Curators from the Tate: Kyla McDonald, Judith Nesbitt, Sheena Wagstaff and Frances Morris

Curators from the UK selected by ICF as part of an open call: Andrea Schlieker Jiyoon Lee, Elisabetta Fabrizi, Loura Mousavi, Paul Domela, Yasmina Reggad, Julia McClinton and Paula Orell

Organisers: Gilane Tawadros, David A Bailey, Mark Waugh and Alex Whitfield

Programme:
Session 1: Tuesday 17 March
Commissioning and presenting artists and artworks – the process of commissioning artists and artworks and curating exhibitions of contemporary art from concept to realisation.

Session 2: Wednesday 18 March
Building institutions and collections – from building capital infrastructure and developing acquisitions strategies to developing an organisation’s intellectual capital.

Session 3: Friday 20 March
Dialogue and exchange – the relationships between institutions and audiences, between the private and the ‘public’ sectors and between the national and international.

Black Diaspora Visual Art

Black Diaspora Visual Art 

Symposium, Exhibitions & Film Presentations

 

Held in Barbados on the 13 & 14 February 2009, this programme was presented by the Barbados National Art Gallery Committee in collaboration with International Curators Forum and Aica Southern Caribbean with funding from Arts Council England.

As part of the planned events marking the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the National Art Gallery Committee invited curator David A. Bailey MBE to organise a series of symposiums and exhibitions that explore visual art in the Black Diaspora. A number of leading scholars, curators and artists who have made key contributions in this area were invited to Barbados to participate in a dialogue with the local/regional Caribbean community. It was envisioned that this event would provide an opportunity for the Barbados art community and wider local audience to participate in the discussions and present contemporary Barbadian art and artists to a panel of distinguished experts in related fields.

The programme included a public symposium, which took as its starting point Stuart Hall and the question he poses in his essay called Modernity and its Others: Three “Moments” in the Post–War History of the Black Diaspora Arts. The essay offers an analysis of three ‘moments’ in the post-war black visual arts in the UK. The main contrast identified is between the ‘problem space’ of the artists–the last ‘colonials’–who came to London after World War II to join the modern avant-garde and who were anti-colonial, cosmopolitan and modernist in outlook, and that of the second generation–the first ‘post-colonials’–who were born in Britain, pioneered the Black Art Movement and the creative explosion of the 1980s, and who were anti-racist, culturally relativist and identity-driven. In the work of the former, abstraction predominated; the work of the latter was politically polemical and collage-based, subsequently embracing the figural and the more subjective strategy of ‘putting the self in the frame’. This generational shift is mapped here in relation to wider socio-political and cultural developments, including the growth of indigenous racism, the new social movements, especially anti-racist, feminist and identity politics, and the theoretical ‘revolutions’ associated with them. The contemporary moment – less politicised, and artistically neo-conceptual, multi-media and installation-based– is discussed more briefly.

The symposium set out to explore some of these themes in Hall’s paper with particular reference to their applicability to the contemporary Caribbean context and the relationship of the contemporary moment to earlier developments. Questions included:

Is there a Caribbean canon?
Can we discuss a Caribbean aesthetic in the 21st century?
What are the institutional models?
How do we identify the different ways forward?

The Symposium took place at the Frank Collymore Hall in Bridgetown in conjunction with a number of site-specific artists’ projects throughout the island. 

Keynote Lecture: Stuart Hall

 in dialogue with David A. Bailey MBE

Produced by Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison

Symposium and Exhibition Photos

Symposium Programme 

Day 1 – Friday February 13th, 2009

Welcome address: Alissandra Cummins (GCM, Chairperson National Art Gallery Committee, Director of the Barbados Museum), Dr. Jeannine Comma (“Lesley’s Legacy”), Steve Blackett (Minister of Community Development and Culture) and David A. Bailey MBE (International Curator’s Forum and Senior Curator, Autograph ABP)

Keynote address: Stuart Hall (Cultural Theorist, Professor Emeritus, Open University, London)
in dialogue with David A. Bailey MBE
with a response from Professor George Lamming (Brown University) 

Panel One: Discussion of Stuart Hall’s paper and Lamming’s response
Chair: David A. Bailey MBE
Speakers: David Scott (Columbia University; Editor – Small Axe), Alissandra Cummins (NAGC)

Panel Two: Is there a Caribbean canon; can we discuss a Caribbean aesthetic in the 21st century?
Chair: Allison Thompson (NAGC, Barbados Community College)
Speakers: Veerle Poupeye (Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Jamaica), Krista Thompson (Northwestern University, Illinois) and Leon Wainwright (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Film Presentation: Kara Walker with Teka Selman


DAY 2 – Saturday February 14th, 2009

Panel Three: Past experiences, institutional models and exploring the different ways forward
Co-Chairs: Richard Powell (Duke University North Carolina Lowery Sims: Museum of Arts and Design, New York), Dominique Brebion (AICA SC), Christopher Cozier (Artist – Trinidad), Paul Domela (Programme Director, Liverpool Biennial), Erica James (Director National Gallery Bahamas) and Andrea Wells (NAGC, NCF)

Closing Remarks: David Scott

Exhibition Tours, Bridgetown
Ewan Atkinson and Ingrid Persaud – Grande Salle, Frank Collymore Hall
Arthur Edwards and Frances Ross – West Wing, Parliament Buildings
Indrani Gall – Central Post Office
Joscelyn Gardner – Public Library
Caroline Holder – Grande Salle, Frank Collymore Hall
Trevor Mathison and Gary Stewart – West Wing, Parliament Buildings
Ingrid Pollard – West Wing, Parliament Buildings
Sheena Rose – Collins Pharmacy, Broad Street; Grande Salle, Frank Collymore Hall

Queen’s Park Gallery and Zemicon Gallery – “The Road to Many: Towards A Genealogy OF Barbadian Art”

Reception hosted by International Curators Forum

Film and Discussion: Alfredo Jaar and David A. Bailey MBE

Download the original programme