Announcing the release of Talamak: Dessa Darling’s Memoir

Frist draft cover page

We are very pleased to announce the launch of Talamak: Dessa Darling’s Memoir, the e-publication written and directed by Fresh Milk Books Team Leader Amanda Domalene Haynes. The story offers a glimpse at the underbelly of many mood disorders, mental illnesses and mysterious health issues: emotional/psychological trauma.

Talamak: Dessa Darling’s Memoir features illustrations by Fresh Milk Books Member Versia Abeda Harris and book design by Kimberley St. Hill. The book is divided into four narratives: Purple Flower, Talamak, Sunsets with Gran-gran and Blood Sisters. Here’s the back cover description:

“DESSA DARLING is a young woman from Barbados, the Caribbean. When a painful memory wakes her from a stoned slumber, she must confront emotions she has been repressing for a very long time.  A mix of words and images, Dessa Darling’s Memoir shares her journey through these surreal and subtly hopeful reflections.”

Read/Download the book here.

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About Amanda:

Amanda Domalene Haynes is the Project Leader of Fresh Milk Books at the Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. An editor and emerging YA publisher, her postgraduate research interests include media literacy, popular culture and publishing in relation to the socioeconomic development of the Caribbean region. She currently manages the recently launched blog The Odyssey of Carib Lit, which will document her research about contemporary Caribbean book publishing and its sociological implications. Amanda graduated from the University of the West Indies with a BA Literatures in English (First Class Hons.) in 2013.

FRESH MILK XVI Review

Fresh Milk Books‘ Team Leader Amanda Haynes reviews our last public event FRESH MILK XVI. Read more below:

Photograph by Dondre Trotman

Photograph by Dondre Trotman

On Thursday June 26th, the Fresh Milk Art Platform hosted FRESH MILK XVI, the Barbados Launch of See Me Here: A Survey of Self Portraits from the Caribbean, edited by Melanie Archer and Mariel Brown of Robert and Christopher Publishers. Organised into a moderated panel discussion and an open Q & A, it was one of those rare times the second segment outran the first.

The event opened with a succinct presentation by visual artist Ronald Williams and my brief chat about Fresh Milk Books, before launching into the feature of the night: a conversation with See Me Here editor Melanie Archer and contributing Barbadian artists Ewan Atkinson, Annalee Davis, Joscelyn Gardner and Sheena Rose.

Skilfully moderated by Barbadian artist Russell Watson, dialogue revolved around the motivation and content of each artist’s unique self-portraiture, as well as the editors’ decision to compile an anthology with self-portraiture as its point of departure.

Annalee, Joscelyn, Ewan and Sheena’s responses were nuanced, embodying their personal expression of self and a distinct awareness of social identity as a political circumstance. In each case, their creative process reveals an understanding of this tension. For example, Joscelyn’s reflection on her work highlighted its ‘naïve’ perspective as she grappled to comprehend the complex racial and social climate of the Caribbean and being ‘white creole’. Similarly, Annalee shared her experience as being a white creole artist from Barbados, and the way in which Fresh Milk can be read as a self-portrait of this journey.

The more unapologetic, ‘socially vague’ visual art of Ewan and Sheena provoked especially provocative questions. As the discussion was opened to the audience, the question of self-portraiture as a zeitgeist of current Caribbean contemporary artists whirled into thoughtful questions and critically introspective answers. Major concerns expressed included the implications of this preoccupation with ‘self’ in today’s art practice, including the lack of a collective social agenda of current contemporary Caribbean art when compared to the socially oriented work of previous generations. Is this phenomenon indicative of an abandoning of ‘the national project’, or is it reflective of contemporary deconstructions of place as the root of one’s identity? How does this trend fit into the phenomenon of self-portraiture in general art history; is there a common social climate of these times?

In the context of contemporary mediated social media, the question of the performativity of art practice also raised poignant questions about the commodification of art, the role of the marketplace in the creative process, and criteria of authenticity: Who is the audience of this performance? How does this influence how, where and what we create? More importantly, what is the point of what we do? Should there be a point, anyway?

The mic was passed from artists, curators, scholars, students, men, women, the young, the older and the old. In a safe space for our perspectives to clash, clang and mingle, the night confirmed how much place does matter. In particular, the exchanges implied the radical potential of contemporary Caribbean art; more than ever before in the history of our region, we have the opportunity to create, control, consume and distribute perceptions of our visual and cultural identities. See Me Here signifies this moment—what comes next, we are not entirely sure.

Just after 9:30, Russell brought the lively conversation to a coherent close. Most of us stayed to mingle, purchase See Me Here, view the intimate exhibition and browse the CLRR. You wouldn’t guess that three hours before, FRESH MILK XVI was weary of the rain. Thankfully, Annalee and Katherine’s decision to host the night’s proceedings in the open space of the porch and lawn was magical. The atmosphere was relaxed and open, and the rain decided not to drench the projector or those of us sitting under the stars.

All photographs by Dondre Trotman 

Pink Collars – #CCF

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Carla Freeman’s High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy (2000) is described as an “ethnography of globalisation positioned at the intersection between political economy and cultural studies”.  Don’t be scared off by this heavy description—chapter one opens in the Barbados Harbour Industrial Park, where ‘minivans with open doors are parked tightly’ and women are ‘proudly dressed in suits and fashions that identify them as “office” workers’.  With the symbolism of high tech and high heels firmly in place, Freeman’s text introduces the jargon.

The above excerpt is from Amanda Domalene Haynes’ review of Carla Freeman’s High Tech and High Heels in the Global Economy: Women, Work and Pink Collar Identities in the Caribbeanthis week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr - the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.

For new Critical. Creative. Fresh reviews every week, look out for our #CCF Weekly posts and see the great material we have available at Fresh Milk!

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International Artist Initiated

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Fresh Milk was very excited to travel to Glasgow this July to participate in the International Artist Initiated (IAI) project, presented by the David Dale Gallery & Studios as part of The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme which took place alongside this year’s Commonwealth Games. See below for more information and images from the project.

All photos taken by Rayanne Bushell.

About IAI:

International Artist Initiated is a programme of exhibitions and events devised by David Dale Gallery to coincide with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Developed over the past year, the project acted as a catalyst for discussion and collaboration between artist initiated projects internationally. The structure of the project was designed to be malleable and open source, in that it can be taken and applied elsewhere with different organisations.

Working with artist initiated, or focussed, organisations from across the six Commonwealth territories, the programme consisted of a series of exhibitions and events by the invited organisations that responded to either the context of the Commonwealth Games within Glasgow, or was representative of contemporary culture within their nation through the lens of an artist-led organisation.

The contributors to the programme were:

Fresh Milk, Barbados
Fillip, Canada
Cyprus Dossier, Cyprus
Clark House Initiative, India
RM, New Zealand
Video Art Network Lagos, Nigeria

Take a look at some picture from the opening night of IAI here:

Fresh Milk’s contribution to IAI was in two parts. The first saw the installation of works by three emerging artists on billboards, on railings and on the surface of the sidewalk. The artists include a recent graduate from the Barbados Community College, Ronald Williams, whose crisp digital montages critique the stereotype of the black athlete and were installed on an extended billboard, while Mark King’s temporal, geometric, site specific work was installed on a pavement. Alberta Whittle’s fête (party) posters show the artist masquerading as both man and woman in her critique of gender stereotypes through her engagement with the local fête posters often seen posted throughout Bridgetown, Barbados’ capital city. The posters were reproduced and displayed throughout the streets of Glasgow.

Ronald Williams

Ronald Williams’ Artist Statements:

My collages investigate the role that sports and the black athlete play in society. I manipulate popular based imagery to compose computer-generated images that explore sports, perceptions, stereotypes and fantasies about the black athlete or figure, conceptually becoming deliberately self-contradictory as the stereotype is simultaneously celebrated and criticized. The work is designed as a large-scale poster to be installed on a billboard as an adhesive decal similar to how the image of the modern sportsman is represented. The titles of the three images being exhibited are Swagga, The Phenomenon and Wild Thing.

Swagga

Sprinter Usain Bolt provides the inspiration for Swagga, a piece meant to capture the frivolous and boastful nature of celebration. The boa, hat, glasses and shoes combine to promote this ‘showy’ spectacle but are also linked to the Jamaican bling culture. While the animal skins on the legs hint at the relationship to fashion, it also indicates an inherent animalistic/ physically superior nature. The shirt, deliberately muted and understated, bears a statement from Marcus Garvey about knowledge of oneself and identity. As the African mask is obscured by the bright glasses and hat, the true significance of important sporting events—such as those of the Olympic Games which were of supreme importance in ancient Greece to a sporting hero as well as his city—is often lost amongst the glamorous festivity which accompanies it.

The Phenomenon

Jessie Owens’ performances at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were the catalyst for this piece. Owens defied Hitler’s claims about Aryan supremacy and the attitudes towards blacks in his own country by winning four gold medals. In America, the infirm and mortality rates of black children were high due to their lack of proper health care and social structure, but the common notion was that the blacks were just diseased and weaker in general. With Owens’ victory the narrative soon changed, and the now widely accepted stereotype of blacks being more athletically and physically gifted emerged. The idea of blacks being super or sub-human alternated between those two points and Owens was subjected to various tests to find what the secret was. To reflect this change, the head of the character and its arms indicate a non human entity with the study of eugenics paramount to the discussion. To highlight the use of the ‘sub-human’ black body for scientific and medical use, the Tuskegee experiments are included. Attached to the leg of the sprinter is the anti-slavery coin ‘Am I Not A Man And A Brother’ which serves as an anchor ball and chain. It symbolises the apparently never ending struggle for the black person to bee seen as equal, not super nor sub-human.

Wild Thing

Serena Williams’ bold fashion choices and trailblazing attitude helped inspire Wild Thing. Her 2002 attire, dubbed ‘the catsuit’, was such a huge talking point that it overshadowed the tennis being played. Comments about her ample curves, bulging muscles and inhuman speed and agility placed her in a highly sexualized yet animalsitic category. The character wears an exaggerated version of a catsuit, referencing the stereotypical association between African women and felines, while images of the Hottentot Venus place the fascination with her body to the fore. The black power racket and raised middle finger is a testament to her uncompromising and at times aggressive attitude, which is occasionally adverse to the demure nature of the sport.

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Mark King

Mark King’s Artist Statement:

My contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Culture Programme is a site-specific work made possible by the access provided by technology. Through virtual and interactive maps I embarked upon an exercise in way-finding from a computer thousands of miles away in Barbados. Through mechanisms such as Google Maps I selected forms present in the architecture and manipulated them to create artworks that draw upon the location where my work will be presented.

I have chosen chalk as my medium due to its ephemeral qualities. The resulting artwork is temporary much like the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. My hope is that spectators from across the globe will come into direct contact with the piece with chalk from the artwork sticking to their shoes and hitching a ride to the neighboring sports venues. The combination of the elements and foot traffic will slowly eat away at the pigment and ultimately return the site to a state prior to my temporary intervention.

It is unknown whether the work will last for an hour, a day or the duration of the Commonwealth Games.

 _____________________________________________________________________________

Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle’s Artist Statement

I am interested in the conflict between historical images of the Other and the African Diaspora’s notions of the Self. The spectacle of racial differences relies on a language of bleak oppositions to confirm stereotypes. In Black Skin / White Masks, Frantz Fanon, observed that in colonial discourse “native” peoples are not positioned within the psychoanalytic structure of the Self and Other, but are relegated to the universe of objects, where they remain beyond the limits of cultural intelligibility.Focusing on the concept of subjective portraiture, both as art historical genre and public identity, my research has prompted me to interrogate the potential of Barbadian fete posters as a means of regaining subjectivity.

Whilst undertaking a residency at Fresh Milk in 2012, I began a series of digital collages, exploring the production and distribution of fete posters in Barbados. Fete posters are a platform for social commentary, highlighting the acute disparity between gender roles in Barbados, where these representations appear frozen. The posters advertising these “fetes” set the tone and introduce the hosts / hostesses.  Each poster must present a selection of portraits of the hosts / hostesses, who enact a series of set poses, often sexually provocative or stereotypically hypermasculine. There are exceptions to this trope, where we are presented with more family-oriented fetes or fetes, which present a more Afro-centric or Rastafarian ideology. However, despite attempts to present themselves as rigidly heterosexual, there are elements of homoeroticism, identified through pose, adornment and dress. Designed to reflect certain ideals, these posters have evolved to reflect a specific format, which typically utilises certain poses, typography, set design and phrases, presenting a fantastical landscape punctuated with exotic animals, signifiers of wealth, including mansions, enormous bundles of cash money, expensive liquor, cars and motorbikes. They are papered on walls throughout the urban and pastoral landscape and also use Facebook as a stage. Drawing from Dancehall and Hip Hop culture, they have become sites to define identity and project capitalist ideals.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Fresh Milk’s second contribution was a discursive project called “Notions of common/wealth versus single/wealth”. This dialogical component provided a platform for representatives of the seven specially invited networks to participate in conversations with each other and the Glaswegian audience. The aim of the conversations was, in part, to unpack ideas related to the Commonwealth of Nations – the association under which countries gather every four years to celebrate sport in Glasgow in the summer of 2014. The intention was to explore the context of the IAI, as a gathering of Commonwealth Nations, and delve into how that relates to the work we all do as artist led initiatives. The concern was to investigate the Commonwealth as a macro, historical entity and understand our relationship to it, if any, and all that entails. Interrelated are ideas about the definition of wealth and value, both single and common, in our local contexts.

View the panel discussion archived online here.

Márquez’s Bolivar – #CCF

kwame ccf

The front cover of The General in His Labyrinth is a blueprint. Its red tiled corridor could be a path in the labyrinthine mental and physical journey of the novel’s main character—the 19th century figure who is known as ‘The Liberator’ of Latin America from Spanish colonialism—General Simon Bolivar.

This path runs through a series of arches that are decorated with tropical trees; two naked women sit in the curves of each arch. Multiple Bolivars in full military regalia can be seen pacing with their hands clasped behind their backs from one side of an arch to another, probably reflecting on his past accomplishments and failures. The Bolivar at the farthest end—at the vanishing point—seems to be attempting to walk backwards, towards the reader/viewer, as if considering a return to his former glory. I say ‘attempting’, because the shrinking of the protagonist seems to reflect Bolivar’s inevitable death. His return happens only through  his labyrinthine recollections of past victories and failures, of great friendships and betrayals, and his thirty-five passionate love affairs.

The above excerpt is from newest member of the FMB Team Kwame Slusher’s review of Gabriel García Márquez’s The General in His Labyrinththis week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr - the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.

For new Critical. Creative. Fresh reviews every week, look out for our #CCF Weekly posts and see the good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!

Video from FRESH MILK XV: The Age of Infobesity with McLean Greaves

We are pleased to share a video from FRESH MILK XV, held on Thursday, April 10th 2014,  which featured a talk titled ‘The Age of Infobesity’ by our visiting speaker McLean Greaves, a Barbadian-born, Toronto-based expert in digital media and Vice-President of the Interactive division at ZoomerMedia.

Thank you to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Barbados for recording the event!

The Age of Infobesity:

90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. With the rise of social media, mobile devices and the latest buzz — the Internet Of Things — humans are facing an unprecedented amount of data to consume. The result: a rapidly shrinking attention span.

Presented by veteran digital media executive McLean Greaves, this talk explains how we got here, the role of digital marketeers in monetizing reduced attention spans, and solutions for future generations where the average North American student now owns 6.7 devices but is increasingly forgetful.

A View from the Mangrove – #CCF Guest Review

mangrove

A View from the Mangrove is the final part of the late Cuban writer Antonio Benitez-Rojo’s Caribbean trilogy.  Like most of his work, this short story collection deals with the making of the “New World” both historically and in the formation of Creole identity. 

The eleven stories span several centuries.  The first ones bring to life historical chapters of the Caribbean as the “cockpit of Europe”, with European powers battling each other for a greater share of the loot. The first of these stories is a tale of the notorious slave-trader John Hawkins’s pursuit of Spanish gold.  Others involve French buccaneers, a Spanish governor sent to suppress autonomy in the colonies and of a reluctant priest trapped in this struggle.  A few centuries later, there is a human drama told by multiple narrators against the backdrop of the final stages of the Haitian Revolution, and later, an infirm and burnt-out soldier wasting away in a mangrove during the Cuban War of Independence.  The penultimate story is about Haitians fighting against Batista in the Cuban Revolution and against racism and exploitation at the hands of their comrades.  My favourite story of the collection though is “The Broken Flute,” on the last Tezcatlipoca; a tragic tale of an “old god” being swallowed up by the chasm that opens up when worlds crash.

The above excerpt is from an anonymous review by ‘The Book Guy’ of Antonio Benitez-Rojo’s A View from the Mangrovethis week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr - the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.

For new Critical. Creative. Fresh reviews every week, look out for our #CCF Weekly posts and see the good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!

The Origin of Species – Super Human #CCF

origin of species

Nino Ricci’s the Origin of Species reminds me of how sloppy human feelings are. We make decisions then change our minds. We make mistakes and run from those mistakes. We do good, we do bad. Alex, the book’s main character, is not a bad person. But is he a good one? The phrase that comes to mind is ‘…things are never black and white.’

I once dreamt that I had died; I was killed in an explosion. Just before I died, I remember being excited about my death. I was ready for it. I felt like all the answers to the ‘big questions’ would become clear to me. I’d finally know the purpose of life and I would be awesome like Hugh Jackman’s character when he became enlightened in the movie ‘The Fountain’. And even though I was dreaming I felt that when I woke up, whatever insight I had found in my dream death, I would have in my waking life. I wanted death because I believed I was on the brink of some great knowledge that had eluded me all of my 22 years. But of course I passed and nothing happened. No zap or jolt of power or knowledge. I didn’t shine, my eyes didn’t become bright with wisdom and all that hoopla. I did float though, but that’s beside the point. What I want to zone in on is that feeling of being on the brink of something important; of acquiring the state of mind that will change you for the better. That is the feeling that plagues Alex.

The above excerpt is from Versia Harris’ review of Nino Ricci’s The Origin of Speciesthis week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr - the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.

For new Critical. Creative. Fresh reviews every week, look out for our #CCF Weekly posts and see the good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!

FRESH MILK Participates in International Artist Initiated presented by David Dale Gallery & Studios

Fresh Milk IAI Poster

Fresh Milk is very excited to be traveling to Glasgow to participate in the International Artist Initiated (IAI) project, presented by the David Dale Gallery & Studios as part of The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme taking place alongside this year’s Commonwealth Games.

About IAI:

International Artist Initiated is a programme of exhibitions and events devised by David Dale Gallery to coincide with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Developed over the past year, the project is intended to act as a catalyst for discussion and collaboration between artist initiated projects internationally. The structure of the project is designed to be malleable and open source, in that it can be taken and applied elsewhere with different organisations – not that there is anything particularly ground breaking about the idea, but sometimes simple ideas are the most effective – let’s gather a diverse collection of people with similar interests and see what we can create.

Working with artist initiated, or focussed, organisations from across the six Commonwealth territories, the programme consists of a series of exhibitions and events by the invited organisations that respond to either the context of the Commonwealth Games within Glasgow, or is representative or indicative of contemporary culture within their nation through the lens of an artist-led organisation. The scope and direction of the project is intentionally open and wide – as the strength of this practise is in its breadth of interpretation and invention. Taking place over multiple venues in Glasgow’s east end, International Artist Initiated incorporates visual art exhibitions, public art, events, performance and publications as a celebration of the diversity of self-organised cultural practice internationally.

international artist initiated

The word ‘international’ is a daunting one, and a little bombastic. There is no intention within this project for the selection or execution to be conclusive in any way. The selection of the organisations, has by definition, meant the exclusion of thousands of initiatives – we consider this selection to supplement existing dialogues through opening up another network, another platform.

A self-critical capacity seems to be one of very few universals inherent within artist initiated organisations, and this project has grown its own criteria quite organically. The privilege within this project is the access to the plurality of voices. Fresh eyes that can say ‘yeh, but…’. The six disparate organisations represented within IAI all contribute separate and distinct critical and discursive components to the overall project: considering their own place and histories; the architectonic context within which they’re placed; the cultural historic context in which we work; specific cultural relationships towards the present invitation context; and whether the project can work and grow. Instead of an incessant list of questions, however, what develops is a wonderful narrative of sorts – a cyclical story in which everyone pitches in to embellish.

These contributors are:

Fresh Milk, Barbados
Fillip, Canada
Cyprus Dossier, Cyprus
Clark House Initiative, India
RM, New Zealand
Video Art Network Lagos, Nigeria

Download the IAI Programme as a PDF here.

iai poster

About Fresh Milk’s Contribution:

Exhibitions in the public space
Work by Mark King, Alberta Whittle and Ronald Williams
July 19 – August 3, 2014
Broad Street/Fordneuk Street, Glasgow

Notions of common/wealth versus single/wealth
Discussion and live broadcast
Saturday July 19, 2014
3pm – 5pm (10am – 12pm Barbados time)
David Dale Gallery, Broad Street, Glasgow

Watch it live online here: thisistomorrow.info 

Fresh Milk’s contribution to IAI is in two parts. The first will see the installation of works by three emerging artists on a billboard, on railings and on the surface of the sidewalk. The artists include a recent graduate from the Barbados Community College, Ronald Williams, who’s crisp digital montages critique the stereotype of the black athlete and will be installed on an extended billboard while Mark King’s temporal, geometric, site specific work will be installed on a pavement. Alberta Whittle’s fête (party) posters show the artist masquerading as both man and woman in her critique of gender stereotypes through her engagement with the local fête posters often seen posted throughout Bridgetown, Barbados’ capital city. The posters will be reproduced in multiplies and plastered throughout the streets of Glasgow.

Fresh Milk’s second contribution will be a discursive project called “Notions of common/wealth versus single/wealth”. This dialogical component will provide a platform for representatives of the seven specially invited networks to participate in conversations with each other and the Glaswegian audience. The aim of the conversations will, in part, be to unpack ideas related to the Commonwealth of Nations – the association under which countries gather every four years to celebrate sport in Glasgow in the summer of 2014. The intention is to explore the context of the IAI, as a gathering of Commonwealth Nations, and delve into how that relates to the work we all do as artist led initiatives. The concern is to unpack the Commonwealth as a macro, historical entity and understand our relationship to it, if any, and all that entails. Interrelated are ideas about the definition of wealth and value, both single and common, in our local contexts.

About Fresh Milk’s Participants:

Mark King

Mark King is a multidisciplinary Barbadian visual artist who explores archetypes and social norms. Interested in notions of topography and megalography, Mark makes coded, often satirical work that highlights social phenomena. The son of a former diplomat, Mark has called several places home. Growing up in The Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, and the United States has left Mark with a unique perspective that directly influences his artistic practice.

Mark holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. In 2011 the Lucie Foundation handpicked Mark for their apprenticeship program. During the same year he participated in a screen-printing residency at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium. In 2012 he took part in an artist residency at Alice Yard in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In 2013, he participated in two residencies – Fresh Milk in Saint George, Barbados, and Ateliers ’89 in Aruba for the Mondriaan Foundation’s Caribbean Linked ll. Last year he released his first monograph, ‘Plastic’ through MOSSLESS publishing at The Newsstand in New York. Plastic has gone on to The 2013 New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, The 8Ball Zine Fair, the 2013 I Never Read Art Book Fair in Basel, Switzerland, and The 2014 LA Art Book Fair in the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Mark King’s Artist Statement

My contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Culture Programme is a site-specific work made possible by the access provided by technology. Through virtual and interactive maps I embarked upon an exercise in way-finding from a computer thousands of miles away in Barbados. Through mechanisms such as Google Maps I selected forms present in the architecture and manipulated them to create artworks that draw upon the location where my work will be presented.
I have chosen chalk as my medium due to its ephemeral qualities. The resulting artwork is temporary much like the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. My hope is that spectators from across the globe will come into direct contact with the piece with chalk from the artwork sticking to their shoes and hitching a ride to the neighboring sports venues. The combination of the elements and foot traffic will slowly eat away at the pigment and ultimately return the site to a state prior to my temporary intervention.

It is unknown whether the work will last for an hour, a day or the duration of the Commonwealth Games.

Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle is a Barbadian artist, currently based between South Africa, Glasgow and Barbados. She has undertaken residencies at CESTA (Czech Republic), Market Gallery (Scotland), Collective Gallery (Scotland), Fresh Milk (Barbados), Greatmore Studio and The Bag Factory in South Africa.

She choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces, including at the Royal Scottish Academy (Scotland) and has exhibited in various solo and group shows in Europe, the Caribbean and South Africa, including at the CAS Gallery, University of Cape Town in March 2013 and in ‘WHERE WE’RE AT! Curated by Christine Eyene in Brussels in June 2014. Her practice is concerned with the construction of stereotypes of race, nationality and gender, considering the motivation behind the perpetuation and the different forms in which they are manifested.

Alberta Whittle’s Artist Statement

“Violence is man re-creating himself”.[1] 

“…Pon bed pon floor against wall
We sex dem all till dem call mi
Im de girls dem sugar dats all
Welcome de king of de dancehall…” [2]

I am interested in the conflict between historical images of the Other and the African Diaspora’s notions of the Self. The spectacle of racial differences relies on a language of bleak oppositions to confirm stereotypes. In Black Skin / White Masks, Frantz Fanon, observed that in colonial discourse “native” peoples are not positioned within the psychoanalytic structure of the Self and Other, but are relegated to the universe of objects, where they remain beyond the limits of cultural intelligibility.Focusing on the concept of subjective portraiture, both as art historical genre and public identity, my research has prompted me to interrogate the potential of Barbadian fete posters[3] as a means of regaining subjectivity.

3. jeans vs leggings-text-new

Whilst undertaking a residency at Fresh Milk in 2012, I began a series of digital collages, exploring the production and distribution of fete posters in Barbados. Fete posters are a platform for social commentary, highlighting the acute disparity between gender roles in Barbados, where these representations appear frozen. The posters advertising these “fetes” set the tone and introduce the hosts / hostesses.  Each poster must present a selection of portraits of the hosts / hostesses, who enact a series of set poses, often sexually provocative or stereotypically hypermasculine. There are exceptions to this trope, where we are presented with more family-oriented fetes or fetes, which present a more Afro-centric or Rastafarian ideology. However, despite attempts to present themselves as rigidly heterosexual, there are elements of homoeroticism, identified through pose, adornment and dress. Designed to reflect certain ideals, these posters have evolved to reflect a specific format, which typically utilises certain poses, typography, set design and phrases, presenting a fantastical landscape punctuated with exotic animals, signifiers of wealth, including mansions, enormous bundles of cash money, expensive liquor, cars and motorbikes. They are papered on walls throughout the urban and pastoral landscape and also use Facebook as a stage. Drawing from Dancehall and Hip Hop culture, they have become sites to define identity and project capitalist ideals.

Assuming a number of different roles, adorning myself in gendered forms of surface design I masquerade as both male and female. Through adopting specific gestures and poses, I attempt to ape the hypersexualised presentations of gender, which are rife in Dancehall culture. These posters provide an opportunity for individuals to present a portrait of themselves for the public to interpret, dismember and enjoy. The creation of this form of portrait photography can be considered a form of documentary realism, which offers a conflicting viewpoint from the stereotypical portrayals of the Other.

[1] Fanon, Frantz, (2001), “The Wretched of the Earth”, London: Penguin

[2] Beenie man lyrics from “King of the Dancehall,” http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beenieman/kingofthedancehall.html

[3] “Fetes” are parties held at a variety of locations in Barbados, from private homes, bars, nightclubs, to parks and beaches. They are rarely ticketed, usually inexpensive and often free. They can be hosted by anyone, who can secure the venue, organise the DJs, and provide a bar to ensure the party is “HYPE”. “HYPE”, is a colloquial phrase, meaning cool, fun or popular.

Ronald Williams

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1990, multimedia artist Ronald Williams developed an interest in art from a very young age.  His art education at the Barbados Community College’s Fine Arts program forced him to view art as a powerful cog in society. Currently, Ronald’s work focuses on race and sociology. He volunteers at the Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. as part of the editorial team of the Fresh Milk Books initiative.

Ronald Williams’ Artist Statement

My collages investigate the role that sports and the black athlete play in society. I manipulate popular based imagery to compose computer-generated images that explore sports, perceptions, stereotypes and fantasies about the black athlete or figure, conceptually becoming deliberately self-contradictory as the stereotype is simultaneously celebrated and criticized. The work is designed as a large-scale poster to be installed on a billboard as an adhesive decal similar to how the image of the modern sportsman is represented.

Annalee Davis

Annalee Davis 

Annalee Davis is a Visual Artist and creative activist living and working in Barbados. Since 2011, Annalee has been the founding director of the artist-led initiative – The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. An experiment, a cultural lab and an act of resistance, Fresh Milk supports excellence among emerging contemporary creatives locally, throughout the Caribbean, its diaspora and internationally. Located on a working dairy farm and a former sugar cane plantation, Fresh Milk is a nurturing entity; transforming a once exclusive space to become a freely accessible platform with programming supportive of new modes of thinking and engaging. Annalee is a part-time tutor in the BFA programme at the Barbados Community College.  For more on her practice, visit her website and view the Fresh Milk site here.

mario caro

Mario Caro

Mario A. Caro is a researcher, curator, and critic of contemporary art, having published widely on the history, theory, and criticism of contemporary Indigenous arts. He is currently an assistant professor in the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at New York University.

His work within the academy complements his endeavors to further global cultural exchange. He is on the board of various organizations focused on art residencies and is the current president of Res Artis, an international network of residencies focused on promoting the worldwide mobility of artists. Mario is the moderator for Fresh Milk’s discursive component as part of the IAI.

Beyond a Boundary – #CCF

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…This heartfelt public interest in cricket led the sport into a political battle, of which James was the spearhead. The regime which supported class and race distinctions, which had prevented the West Indies from ever having a black captain, came under constant attack from James’ paper and a volatile open letter which seemed to threaten war. I found it stirring that this came from a man like James, a man so immersed in the game that he held the code of ‘keeping a stiff upper lip’ (James 24) to the highest standard,  that he was willing to put the decency and decorum behind him. Cricket was changing, so it was apt that a man so passionate about the game was changing as well. I spoke of my nostalgia earlier, for that is what it was. While James’ love for the game drove him to momentarily disregard his values—for the good of the game—my own feelings have dissolved to indifference…

The above excerpt is from Ronald Williams’ review of C.L.R. James’ Beyond a Boundarythis week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr - the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.

For new Critical. Creative. Fresh reviews every week, look out for our #CCF Weekly posts and see the good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!