Caribbean Arts Symposium_ About Change_ Wrestling with the Image


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Caribbean Arts Symposium_ About Change_ Wrestling with the Image
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About Change, Wrestling with the image symposium
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Caribbean InTransit
Caribbean InTransit
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George Mason University
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Symposium at the Art Museum of the Americas on the occasion of the exhibition "About Change: Wrestling with the Image".
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The Art Museum of the Americas and George Mason University, in conjunction with Caribbean in Transit Journal, invited graduate students and emerging scholars to participate in a symposium on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC.

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George Mason University
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Wrestlingwith the Image Wrestling with the Image CARIBBEAN INTERVENTIONSAbout ChangeThis exhibition and symposium is part of the World Banks project About Change: Wrestling with the Image exhibition


Wrestlingwith the Image E Marlon James (Jamaica) Mark and Gisele, 2007 digital print, 40 x 30


Wrestlingwith the ImageIntroduction 1. Ingrid Elliot Ingrid Elliott, Ph.D., Art History, University of Chicago, December 2010 2. Carmen Milagros Torres-Rivera MA Literature, University of Puerto Rico, Ro Piedras Campus Ten minutes break 3. Pascale De Souza, Ph.D Term Assistant Professor of French Department of Modern and Classical Languages George Mason University 4. Mariel Barrow PhD CandidateCultural StudiesGeorge Mason University, Fulbright Scholar 5. Patricia Fay, Associate Professor of Art Florida Gulf Coast University Comments and questions Refreshmentsprogram 2:00 2:20 2:40 3:00 3:10 3:30 3:30 3:50 3:50 4:10 4:10 4:30 4:30 5:00


Wrestlingwith the Image E Nikolai Noel (Trinidad and Tobago) Toussaint et George, 2010 acrylic, graphite and linseed oil on panel, 8 x 10


Wrestlingwith the ImageGuy Prez Cisneros Tropical Baroque, 1940-1943x hibitions like Ultrabaroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 2000) and books such as Cuban-American Art in Miami: Exile, Identity and the Neo-Baroque (Lynette M. F. Bosch, 2004) demonstrate that the Baroque is a term that has resonated with contemporary artistic production of the Cuban diaspora, as well as of Latin America. Indeed the Baroque has been a key term in Cuban art and literature at least since the 1940s. Perhaps the earliest articulation of this term in the visual arts new national style in 1941. While much attention has been given to the literary and post-modern use repeatedly referred to his vision of the future of national art as not just Baroque but tropical Baroque has been largely overlooked. My paper examines Prez Cisneros conceptualization of the tropical Baroque in a series of articles published from 1940 to 1943. These essays address landscapes by the contemporary painter Mariano Rodrguez, as well as the nineteenth-century Cuban printmaker Leonardo Baraano. I argue Prez Cisneros wanted to disassociate the term Baroque from Spanish colonialism and rearticulate it as something essentially Cuban, derived from the tropical landscape. Furthermore he viewed the tropics as a local source of resistance to aesthetic dogma imposed from abroad, and he closely associated the tropics with desire, particularly the desire to achieve something as of yet unattained--national style. Ingrid Elliott Ph.D., Art History, University of Chicago, December 2010E


Wrestlingwith the Image E Joscelyn Gardner (Barbados) Eryngium foetidum (Prue), 2009 hand painted stone lithograph on frosted mylar, 36 x 24


Wrestlingwith the Imagen the 20th century, a visual canon was established for Caribbean art that focused on male national identities. In 2005 I curated an exhibition for Florida Gulf Coast University titled Two Views: Trinidad showcasing the work of painters Ken Crichlow and Shastri Indian heritage in Trinidadian culture, and juxtaposed sleek abstract modernism with folk-inspired narrative imagery. Crichlow and Maharaj spent a week in residence at the university, and shared lively dialogues with faculty and students on the intersections between Caribbean art, history, culture, and experience that makes this genre such a fascinating and In the 21st century, women artists from the region are producing intensely personal translations of their Caribbean heritage in a range of media including photography, video, performance, mixed media, sculpture and installation art. In the spring of 2010 my second curatorial effort, titled Close Encounters: Contemporary Art by Caribbean Women, focused on new paradigms evidenced by women artists born in Cuba, Barbados, Jamaica, Haiti, and St. Lucia. Their works highlight an acute awareness of the social and psychological complexities of this post-colonial landscape, whether as perspectives on island life or reports from the diaspora. The educational program supporting the frankly gorgeous artwork in the exhibition includes artist interviews, lectures, and residencies to further extend the dialogue on Caribbean culture. This presentation will focus on the images and ideas explored in these two exhibitions, pairing ways of making with considerations of identity in the contemporary world of the post-colonial Caribbean. Patricia Fay Associate Professor of Art Florida Gulf Coast UniversityArt, Identity, and the PostColonial Present: Two Caribbean ExhibitionsI


Wrestlingwith the Image E Ebony Patterson (Jamaica) Entourage, 2010 digital print, 108 x 60 in.


Wrestlingwith the Imagen Trinidad, a book of photography, presents the multiple loci of home within the Trinidadian landscape. Location in this context is not simply a physical descriptive referencing an emotional space but location is expressed as performative acts such as festival and cultural fusions. As a site, rooted in the human body, location is imagined by Caribbean scholar Marsha Pearce as gender, race, sexuality, religion and class, ethnicity and so on. Within this text, location is complicated with the notion of the gaze, the gaze being the act of seeing and being seen as a recurring material manifestation within photographs. Discerning how the gaze is at work within location, as a form of labor, as a space for inhabitation and in the creation of a trans-identity, entangles us in narrative elements and structures of Trinidad society as portrayed in In Trinidad. What are the formal and informal narrative elements that perform a mapping of our psycho-social and physio-somatic existence within In Trinidad? As a result of such factors (the gaze, labor, the portrayal of spaces of inhabitation) and the physical manifestation of the book as object, how is this work positioned in the socio-political landscape of Trinidad and how does it begin to position Trinidad in the vast network of looking that impacts a global Caribbean existence? How does the spatio-temporal mapping of the gaze through location, labor and spaces of inhabitation within this text lead us to a trans-identity? How do these aspects propel us into a transitional space of becoming and expectation? Marielle Barrow Phd Student, Cultural Studies George Mason University 703 626 0204Inverting the Gaze: Subjectivity and Spatial mapping in IN TrinidadI


Wrestlingwith the Image E John Cox (Bahamas) Coming to Terms with the Inside World II, 2008 acrylic on canvas, 60 x 78


Wrestlingwith the ImageIn Silencing the Past, the Haitian historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot contrasts the positivist view of history wherein the role of the historian is to reveal the past, to discover or, at least, Trouillot contends that positivism characterizes European and North-American approaches to colonial history as it provides a story about power, a story about those who won (ibid), thereby silencing the voice of the other. Maroons present an interesting challenge to such a reading as through leaving the plantation, they escaped the positivist construction of history and simultaneously established an alternative narrative predicated on a new form of power. St. Lucian poet Derek Walcotts famous claim that the sea is History acknowledges both positivist and constructionist views of Caribbean history by suggesting both the silencing and voicing resistance. When translated into French, La mer est lHistoire introduces a gendered perspective on history, suggesting that below Walcotts sea lies a feminine tale waiting to be told. Attuned to such feminine interpretations, this paper of a female maroon named Solitude. It will focus in particular on the statue of Solitude erected in Pointeagainst colonialism. Pascale De SouzaVisual representations of a maroon named Solitude as tales of gendered resistanceI


Wrestlingwith the Imagea bstract: Carnival has been a form of expression in the Caribbean islands. The hybridization of African and European as well as indigenous elements form contemporary carnival festivities. Ponce a southern town in Puerto Rico has the oldest carnival celebrated in the island. The vejigante, a demon-like, 2010 about the image of the vejigante. It was part of the work done in a graduate course of UPR Rio Piedras offered by Dr. Lowell Fiet. The research focuses on how this character has transformed from a folkloric representation this area. The research begins studying the traditional representation of the vejigante with the works of artisans Juan Alindato sr. and son, Miguel Caraballo,and Edwin Muniz. It goes on to study how dressmakers Martorell, Miguel Conesa, Jose Balay, Jesus Ortiz and Erick Ortiz Gelpi. The questions that are sought to be answered are: How has the vejigante evolved from its beginning? Does the vejigante represent Puerto Rican resistance in terms of identity and culture? Name: Carmen Milagros Torres-Rivera E-mail:, cmt_rivera@yahoo.comHidden Masks upon the Canvas


Review of Caribbean Arts Symposium: About Change: Wrestling with the Image Written by Marielle Barrow April 2011 The Art Museum of the Americas and George Mason University, in conjunction with Caribbean in Transit Journal, invited graduate students and emerging scholars to part icipate in a symposium on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC. As part of the World Bank's project About Change, the exhibition Wrestling with the Image, on view at the Art Museum of the Americas from January 21 Marc h 10, 2011, investigated how the Caribbean region and its populations have been defined by conquest, colonialism, the tropical, narratives of struggle and national sovereignty, emigration, and recently, industrial tourism. Although the Caribbean provided e ssential migrant labor to much of the world as an important player in international trade treaties, and in the procurement, production, and distribution of raw materials, it remains as an exotic other in conversations about cultural production. It is a ten se relationship in which the Caribbean is part of the cultural engine while remaining largely on the outside. This symposium will highlight U.S. based scholarship on Caribbean artistic production in the 20th and 21st centuries, characterized by artists who are investigating and reconsidering how the region is understood. It is to be a conversation about movement in the Atlantic world a dialogue about dispersal rather than displacement. A gathering of about thirty scholars and arts activists responded to t he call to "Stimulate and engage" at the Symposium on Caribbean art. Professor Michele Greet of GMU opened the proceedings noting the challenges of studying Caribbean art in the US academic context. These problems emerged in the process of organizing the symposium. She said that there is "extremely limited presence of Caribbean art historical studies in U.S. academic institutions. There are no art history graduate programs in the United States with a designated track in Caribbean art. Rather, if a student wishes to focus on Caribbean art or artists he or she usually have to do so under the rubric of Latin American art". The rubric of Latin American art for the study of Caribbean art poses significant issues Greet comments that The idea of "Latin America" as an unifying mechanism for the study of artistic production assumes rightly or not certain underlying cultural commonalities such as the dominance of Latin based languages (Spanish or Portuguese), a history of colonialism, and the strong presence of the Catholic church. Within this construct, artists from Spanish speaking Caribbean regions Cuba, and to a lesser degree the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico still hold a place within the canon of Latin American modernism. But what happens to the English, Dutch, and French speaking countries in the Caribbean? Left out of Latin American art


history, the study of the art of these regions has no clear academic home. The Caribbean is therefore doubly marginalized in both its physical separation from American co ntinents as well as in the discipline of Latin American art historical studies." Wrestling with the Image curated by Chirs Cozier and Tatiana Flores looks at the Caribbean as "space of visual inquiry". Greet notes that "Rather than envisioning the Caribbea n as a limited by static geographic parameters, the curators chose artists whose work interrogates existing constructs of Caribbeanness, examining notions of place, seeing, perceiving, identity, discovery, and the "Tropical." The symposium presented essays that inquired of additional spaces monuments, photography, other Caribbean exhibitions, issues of representation and reception, which involve issues of the practice of visuality. Essays focused on Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe which are summ arized in the booklet. The symposium raised an important question: How do we begin to address the problem of a dearth of academic programs focused on the Caribbean arts? Concerns about the nature of the papers presented also surfaced. Why were there no pap ers on the artwork in the exhibition? Scholars offered responses worthy of note: these scholars had little initial access to the exhibition on which the symposium was based and viewed many of these emerging artists' works for the first time when they were presenting. Research is often a lengthy process and contextualizing a work of art in the framework in which it exists should entail detailed research on the artist, the artistic environment in which he or she works, present day influences, use of media and the history of that island's art which influences him or her. Syncing the production of academic papers on artworks in an exhibition therefore requires some foreknowledge of the exhibition and the particular art world of the artists. Of course one can cri tique the curatorial strength of the exhibition, which is significant but this too would involve viewing the show. The symposium attracted a gathering of about thirty scholars and curators many who practice in the field of African American art and Latin American art. It concluded on the recognition of a need for the proliferation of similar events for the discussion of the Caribbean arts.