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

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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

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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.

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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!

The Fresh Milk ArtBoard features Ronald Williams

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We are thrilled to have received the support to have a new image installed on our public gallery space, the Fresh Milk ArtBoard. Sponsored by the David Dale Gallery & Studios, Glasgow, we are now featuring the work of Barbadian artist and member of the Fresh Milk Books team Ronald Williams. Ronald’s work will also be on display in Glasgow this July-August as part of Fresh Milk’s component of the International Artist Initiated project.

As part of The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the David Dale Gallery will present International Artist Initiated, an ambitious collection of events and exhibitions to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. Working with artist initiated organisations from across the six Commonwealth territories, including Fresh Milk, the programme will consist of a series of projects by the invited organisations which respond to the context of the Commonwealth Games within Glasgow, and is representative or indicative of contemporary culture within their nation through the lens of artist-led organisation.

portrait

Ronald’s Artist Statement

Inspired by the dynamism and power of Shaquille O’Neal’s Dunkman logo; as well as his legacy of being one of the most aggressive, combative and dominant players in the NBA’s history, ‘The Beast’ is my expression of the “black male-brute” stereotype.

Using the original logo as a template, I collaged photographs, various images found in popular media and historical texts via Photoshop to form the final piece. While it was not necessary for the viewer to know which athlete a piece is inspired by, that knowledge of the athlete was critical in my selection of the images to use. For ‘The Beast’, intuitive decisions were made based on my perception of O’Neal and his presence as a cultural icon.

shaq_dunkman_logo

Conceptually, ‘The Beast’, like many other collages, is deliberately self-contradictory. Slave revolt texts and upraised fists are counterbalanced by shackles still intact, while the iconic black power symbol when placed on the shoes becomes an ironic brand worn by the primate character.

Through these symbols I acknowledge the important role basketball, and by extension sports, has played in bridging social and economic gaps while also criticizing how the system is set up. The image of the black male being less than human—a big, powerful animal—is one we have struggled to erase, yet the narrative of the NBA has constantly reaffirmed this. Blacks are generally praised for their athleticism, strength and physical qualities while the most lucrative deals and sponsorships usually go to the black basketballers who best exhibit these traits.

As the character in ‘The Beast’ is shackled to what is effectively his own image, I fear some part of the “black male-brute” stereotype is ingrained in our psyche. Many black basketballers voluntarily embrace being a beast on the court while the sports and media industries eagerly promote these images. It’s a catch-22 situation; as we have bridged many racial gaps, we have also unintentionally reaffirmed misguided stereotypes.

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FRESH MILK XVI Video

Check out our video from FRESH MILK XVI, the Barbados book launch for Robert & Christopher Publishers‘ (R&C) latest title, See Mere Here: A Survey of Contemporary Self-Portraits from the Caribbean, edited by Melanie Archer and Mariel Brown.

The event presented a small exhibition and panel discussion with the Barbadian artists featured in the publication – Ewan Atkinson, Annalee Davis, Joscelyn Gardner and Sheena Rose – and editor Melanie Archer, moderated by Barbadian artist Russell Watson.

Thanks to Sammy Davis for shooting and editing this video!

Validity and Visibility – See Me Here #CCF

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There is an undeniable relationship between validity and visibility. As quietly confident, assured or competent as one can be, there is something about gaining recognition that feeds the feeling of being appreciated and understood – of being seen. I already feel slightly uneasy and egotistical trying to articulate this in a way that doesn’t trigger little accusatory voices in the back of my mind hissing ‘vain!’ or ‘insecure!’…concepts that by all logic should be mutually exclusive, but the idea of needing validation from external sources manages to connote both. Maybe a less self-destructive approach is to delve into something relevant to, yet larger than myself, through the honest and brave work of the artists featured in See Me Here: A Survey of Contemporary Self-Portraits from the Caribbean.

The above excerpt is from Katherine Kennedy’s review of See Me Here: A Survey of Contemporary Self-Portraits from 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 good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!

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Versia Harris selected for IV Moscow Biennial for Young Art

yes 5.

Visual artist and member of the Fresh Milk Books editorial team, Versia Harris has been invited to show her work in the IV Moscow Biennial for Young Art at The Museum of Moscow in Russia.  The Biennial is titled A TIME FOR DREAMS, is curated by David Elliot and runs from  26 June to 10 August 2014

Versia’s Artist Statement

They say you can dream a thing more than once
Just because you wish for something, doesn’t make it true. Or does it?

I am captivated by the process of viewing fiction and projecting the fictional images into actuality so that it almost seems as if it becomes a part of one’s reality. As such, the narrative in my work generates a comparison between the character’s reality and fantasy, namely Walt Disney animations. It follows the experiences of the character as she continuously imitates or layers what she consumes from Walt Disney films unto her physical self and environment.

At the center of my investigation, stands the theme of self-image. The character is a manifestation of a person both beautiful and flawed aspiring to acquire the perceived superior physical and behavioral attributes of another. I consider the influences on behavior, especially influences through the media, which projects the perfect or acceptable image, and examine the challenges faced when what is desired conflicts with what is. I ultimately question whether one can subconsciously mimic fiction, until what one deems as reality is not as easily distinguishable from fantasy as one would think.

This project revisits two animations ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re awake’ and ‘They say you can dream a thing more than once’. I am re- presenting these animations concurrently, as a five video installation, to further engross the viewer with content and scale. The installation re-frames the narrative to draw new parallels and associations between the two animations.

versia black and white for arc

About Versia Harris

Versia is a Barbadian artist living and working in Weston, St. James. She graduated from the Barbados Community College with a BFA in the Studio Art programme in 2012 and was awarded The Leslie’s Legacy Foundation Award, an annual prize given to the top graduate. In her work, Versia tackles perceptions of fantasy in contrast to the reality of her original character. She uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate her pen drawings to create the animations.

She participated in her first local residency with Projects and Space in 2011. Within the past year she has completed four residencies, beginning with a local residency at Fresh Milk, followed by her first international residency at the Vermont Studio Center, and two regional residencies at the Instituto Buena Bista, Curacao and Alice Yard, Trinidad in late 2013.

A Lyrical Response to She Who Tells a Story – #CCF Guest Review

ewsha Tavakolian, Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi), Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum, 2010.

Newsha Tavakolian, Don’t Forget This Is Not You (for Sahar Lotfi), Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum, 2010.

Like mornings when dew drops hang on the tips of tree leaves, the stories of women hang in the air. They are the precipitation of the spirit; the evidence of its metamorphosis through the pressures of love and hate, peace and war and joy and sorrow. They are the condensation of spirit smashing against spirit under the power of patriarchy.  

The above excerpt is from Ria Scott’s lyrical guest review of Kristen Gresh’s She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, this 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  and see the good reads we have available at Fresh Milk!

About Ria:

Ria Scott is a former student of the University of the West Indies and the University of Leeds. An avid reader, her writing experience has spanned creative, journalistic and academic spheres. She is passionate about travelling the world and experiencing different cultures. To find out more about Ria, check out her blog riathereal.tumblr.com