Tilting Axis 1.5 to take place in collaboration with the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil

The Tilting Axis 1.5 conversation, in collaboration with Southern Panoramas, 19th Contemporary Art Festival, Sesc_Videobrasil takes place at 11am on October 8th with Holly Bynoe from ARC MagazineMaría Elena Ortiz from the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Mario Caro from Res Artis and Annalee Davis from Fresh Milk. The conversation will be moderated by N’Goné Fall from GAWLab.


Tilting Axis aims to promote greater conversations and engagement between professionals working within artist-led initiatives and institutions across the wider Caribbean region, build and redefine historical relationships with those in the North, and establish open dialogue with strong networks emerging globally in the South.

The first meeting was hosted by Fresh Milk in Barbados in February 2015 and Tilting Axis 2.0 will take place at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in February 2016.

Fresh Milk welcomes Rayanne Bushell and Nadijah Robinson to the platform

Fresh Milk is excited to welcome Rayanne Bushell and Nadijah Robinson to the platform as our next artists in residence from October 5 – 30, 2015.

Rayanne, who we first connected with in Glasgow while participating in the International Artist Initiated project in 2014, will be volunteering at Fresh Milk and working with our growing archive of images, while Nadijah, a Canadian artist of Barbadian heritage, will be reconnecting with her extended family to explore her roots and the notion of ‘home’ in Barbados through her artistic practice, including using mixed media collage and fabric work.


About Rayanne:

Rayanne Bushell is a Black British visual artist currently based in Glasgow. Bushell’s work uses photography, text and various printing techniques to reconstruct her family history, using this as a prism through which to investigate post-colonial identities, christianity and community. Research into the history of Black arts in Britain and the lack of representation of Black artists underpins Bushell’s practice; in November 2014 she founded Motherlands a zine for POC artists and writers and in August 2015 she started a pop-up POC Zine Library.

Motherlands was recently included in Visions of the Future: Women, Publishing & Autonomy, Islamic Human Rights Centre, London 2015. In 2015 Bushell collaborated with artist Isaac Kariuki on Shft+Ctrl+Save exploring how marginalised people utilise the internet and social medias as means of creating safe spaces and communities,Shft+Ctrl+Save was shown at Meta Gallery, Miami in May 2015.

Nadijah Robinson

About Nadijah:

Nadijah Robinson is an artist and educator based in Toronto, currently working in the media of Collage, Painting, Performance and Installation. She received her BFA from the University of Ottawa and a BEd from OISE University of Toronto. Working with skills developed from practices such as sewing, silkscreen printing, batik making, filmmaking, collage, painting, and graphic design, her work combines what is needed to construct a particular affecting image, object or experience. A refusal of the premise of a white canvas, or a blank slate, the use of found fabrics, images and other materials acknowledges that no thing comes from nothing. The history, cultural references, and sensory implications of the materials, and sources of the stories she tells all lend their particular significance to the larger artwork.

Nadijah Robinson’s work aims to reflect and archive the stories of communities in which she is strongly rooted, and which are not often represented in conventional art spaces. Through the practice of conducting interviews with community members, Nadijah is able to identify important themes, to highlight significant stories, and to learn directly from community members what they would like to see in artwork that presents itself as being for and about them.

Recent projects include a The Mourning Dress for Trans Black Women featured in Pride in Toronto 2015, a mural completed a mural as part of the Church Street Mural Project in preparation for World Pride 2014, and the curation of a photographic archive of Black musicians and entertainers from the 1930s-70s for the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. She has shown work with the Art Gallery of York University, Gladstone Hotel, Daniels Spectrum, with Nia Centre for the Arts, and as part of the Mayworks Festival for Working People and the Arts.

Ronald Williams shares a statement about ‘Alpha’

There has been some recent media coverage in the Nation Newspaper in Barbados surrounding a public art piece by local artist Ronald Williams, which was commissioned by Fresh Milk and Adopt A Stop as part of their collaborative Fresh Stops project.

Fresh Milk is very pleased to be able to share a comprehensive statement by Ronald about his artwork entitled Alpha, which can be seen on a bench in Independence Square, Bridgetown. Alpha combines imagery and references from contemporary black culture, based on the artist’s own observations from everyday life, with classic figures from Greek mythology to challenge Western standards of beauty.

We are proud to be supporting Ronald’s thought provoking work, and hope that the attention it is receiving will lead to further dialogue and understanding about contemporary art, its role in society and its value for our culture and environment.

Ronald Williams with his bench entitled 'Alpha'

Ronald Williams with his bench entitled ‘Alpha’

Alpha attempts to question traditionally dominant Western beauty standards. It injects a black consciousness alongside, and at times instead of, the established images found in Classical Greek, Renaissance and Baroque eras.

In appropriating the revered iconography from these eras, I sought to challenge the Western ideals which are so dominant in our culture and mind-sets. The characters are based on five of the Olympians from Greek Mythology (tales which were dominant in my own psyche as those were the first stories I remember really liking as a child).

While I removed the mythical Greek icons from their pedestals, the aim was to also critically investigate black culture and present a Barbadian/Caribbean existence in a new light. Therefore, I used ordinary people and mundane personalities as my inspiration. As a result the five characters take the form of the pretty boy, the party animal, the conscious one, the bad boy and the trickster.

The work, viewed as a collective, reflects African, European and East Asian influences, highlighting that even though we are a predominantly black county/region, it is the intermingling of these various cultures which has caused the Caribbean to be a unique space.

Apollo - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Apollo – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Apollo, described as the most beautiful Olympian and a ‘God’ of the arts, becomes the pretty boy. He is the personification of modern male fashion, which often goes beyond metrosexual and into effeminate/homosexual realms. The character sports a white face on a black body, highlighting the skin bleaching phenomenon (seen as a beautification process), which is prevalent in the black population in the Caribbean.

Dionysus - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Dionysus – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Dionysus, the ‘God’ of alcohol, drunken revelry and ecstasy is the party animal. Dressed as a Kadooment/Carnival masquerader holding a bottle of brandy and set against a smoky marijuana background, the character appears intoxicated and moody. The piece as a whole aims to underline the use of controlled substances when we ‘play mas’ or celebrate, while it simultaneously hints at the darker mood swings which can be a side effect of drug abuse.

Zeus - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Zeus – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Zeus, the supreme Olympian, takes the role of the conscious/spiritual one. He represents a state of serenity and oneness (an ideal level of consciousness many religious/spiritual teachings uphold that one should strive for). His modest natural wood frame (in comparison to the other metallic embellished frames) symbolizes a sense of purity and an immaterial view of the world.

Ares - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Ares – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

‘God’ of war Ares naturally becomes the ‘bad’ boy. The aim of this piece is to exude an aggressive, violent vibe. The character’s ‘tattoos’, made from graffiti, his skull scarf and his horned mask all help to paint the picture of a sinister ‘gangsta’, while the red scarf background and the frame made from bullets sell the idea of a dangerous yet strangely glamorous lifestyle many from poor ‘ghettos’ seem to aspire to.

Hermes - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Hermes – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Hermes, the mischievous ‘God’ of trade, thieves and wanderers is the trickster. He has a clownish appearance, but the background of optical illusions and card suits indicate that there is some level of deception and gamesmanship involved. While Apollo haughtily wears his white mask, Hermes insincerely revels in his. He is the personification of a role many in the black population (Caribbean and worldwide) feel is necessary to play; a conformity to a dominant white culture.

Ronald Williams, Alpha, 2015

Ronald Williams, Alpha, 2015

Thank you to Ronald for sharing his work, to Adopt A Stop for entering into this partnership with us, and to all of the artists participating in the Fresh Stops project. You can learn more about their pieces here.

Transoceanic Visual Exchange Caribbean

TVE flyer McGilchrist

A survey of film and video works in the Caribbean, Africa and Aotearoa, Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE) aims to negotiate the in-between space of our cultural communities outside of traditional geo-political zones of encounter and trade. The three spaces involved – Fresh Milk (Barbados), Video Art Network Lagos (Nigeria) and RM (New Zealand) – first met as participants of International Artist Initiated (IAI), a programme organized and facilitated by David Dale Gallery, Glasgow, in July 2014. TVE intends to build upon these relations and open up greater pathways of visibility, discourse and knowledge production between the artist run initiatives and their regional communities through this laterally curated exhibition project, taking place in Barbados, New Zealand, Nigeria and online.

TVE Caribbean will launch at 7pm on October 14, 2015 at Bagnall Point, BIDC Conference Room, Pelican Village in Bridgetown, Barbados as part of the Barbados Visual Media Festival (BVMF). The exhibition will also be open to the public at that location on October 17, 28 & 30 and features works by:

Versia Harris (Barbados), Katherine Kennedy (Barbados), Michèle Pearson Clarke (Trinidad & Tobago / Canada), Romel Jean Pierre (Haiti), Nick Whittle / Alberta Whittle (Barbados), Rebecca Ann Hobbs (Aotearoa), Ngahuia Raima (Aotearoa), Louisa Afoa (Aotearoa), Nkechi Ebubedike (Nigeria) and Lambert Mousseka (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

There will be additional special screenings taking place at Fresh Milk, The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) as part of their Film Club Screenings and Barbados Community College (BCC):

October 16, 6pm – Fresh Milk, St. George
Rebecca Ann Hobbs – Mangere bridge 246 / Otara at Night (Aotearoa)

October 22, 7pm – Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination
Darcel Apelou – Slap (Aotearoa)
Akwaeke Emezi – Ududeagu (Nigeria)
Carlo Reyes – Viernes Santo (Dominican Republic)

October 29-30, 10am-4pm – Morningside Gallery, Barbados Community College
Olivia McGilchrist – Riva Mumma (Jamaica)
David Gumbs – Offscreen (St. Martin)

RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

For more information please visit www.transoceanicvisualexchange.com, or email Natalie McGuire at tveproject.caribbean@gmail.com.

Special thanks to the Barbados Film and Video Association (BFVA), EBCCI, BCC and Stansfeld Scott Inc. for making these screenings possible, and to Versia Harris and Katherine Kennedy for designing the logo, digital space and flyers.

Re: Controversy around Bench in the ‘Fresh Stops’ Project

There has been some recent controversy in the local  Barbados media surrounding one of the benches commissioned by Fresh Milk and Adopt A Stop as part of our collaborative Fresh Stops Project.

'Alpha' by Ronald Williams.

‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams, featured on a bench currently located in Independence Square, Barbados

Fresh Milk and Adopt A Stop have been involved in a dynamic partnership since 2014, creating opportunities for young Barbadian contemporary visual artists to produce new artworks in public spaces. To date we have commissioned five artists to produce images for benches which have been popping up around the island, including sites at River Bay, Bathsheba, Hunte’s Gardens, the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) and Independence Square. The final bench in this current series is set to be released soon, and will be placed at the Barbados Community College (BCC). You can see more about the innovative project here.

The article published in the Nation Newspaper on Friday, 18th September, 2015.

The article published in the Nation Newspaper on Friday, 18th September, 2015.*

In the Friday, September 18th edition of the Nation Newspaper, there was an article referring to one of the benches featuring artwork by BCC Graduate, Ronald Williams, expressing concern about the nature of the images in the piece. Since being a student of the BFA programme at BCC, Ronald has been producing a body of work looking at stereotypical representations of black culture. Here is his statement for Alpha, the piece on the back of the bench in question:

Alpha attempts to question traditionally dominant Western beauty standards. It injects a black consciousness alongside, and at times instead of, the established images found in Classical Greek, Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Fresh Milk is also currently showing Ronald’s work in our public gallery space called the Fresh Milk ArtBoard.

full bench alpha

Ronald Williams, Alpha, 2015.

We have been in touch with the Nation in order to clear up this matter. The artist and representatives from Fresh Milk and Adopt A Stop are happy to discuss the work and the project further to generate a healthy discourse around contemporary art in Barbados.

*Please note that the bench was not, as stated in the newspaper article, donated by Massy United Insurance, and that they are not affiliated with the project.