Fresh Stops: Matthew Clarke up next!

Matthew Clarke poster

Fresh Milk  and Adopt A Stop conclude the first edition of the Fresh Stops collaborative project with Matthew Clarke‘s piece ‘Hardears Universe’. In an attempt to bring art into the public space, six artists were commissioned to produce original artwork for benches that have been appearing at varied locations around the island. ‘Hardears Universe’ will soon be revealed at a location near you.

The other participating artists included Evan Avery, Versia HarrisMark  King, Simone Padmore and Ronald Williams. This project creates visibility for the work of emerging creatives, allowing the public to encounter and interact with their pieces in everyday life, generating interest and inviting dialogue about their practices.

About ‘Hardears Universe':

Hardears Universe showcases a collection of characters from the ‘Hardears World’ featured in my graphic novels. It is a place of fantasy populated by characters from Caribbean folklore.

About Matthew Clarke:

Matthew Clarke portrait

Matthew Clarke‘s passion for art started at a young age, and he began participating in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) while attending St. Michael’s School. Through the Festival, he achieved bronze, silver, gold and incentive awards, and went on to be the recipient of the Prime Minster’s Scholarship for Visual Art in 2003. Clarke completed his Associate Degree in Visual Art at the Barbados Community College (BCC) which earned him a Barbados Exhibition for tertiary studies, and in 2009 he obtained a Bachelor Degree with honours in Graphic Design at the same institution. He has freelanced for various design agencies (Virgo, 809, RED Advertising, G and A Communication, RCA) and worked at the Nation Publishing Company on the Attitude Magazine, creating its logo and design. He has also worked at Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), where he was appointed Internal Web Designer in charge of the Banks Beer website.

In addition to working on independent projects, he has been working as a graphic designer at RED Advertising and PR Agency as of 2011, where he is currently Deputy Creative Director. He is the co-owner and principle of a Caribbean comic company called Beyond Publishing, which has published over 22 books sold digitally and in print, both locally and internationally.

Halcyon Macleod and Willoh S. Weiland’s Residency – Week 4 Blog Post

Australian resident artists Willoh S. Weiland and Halcyon Macleod share their fourth blog post about their Fresh Milk residency. This week Willoh & Halcyon continued their search for the elusive ghost of Jean Rhys, hoping to get clues from the “Queen of Barbados.” Rhys’ life is used as a metaphor for feelings of displacement and as a reminder that the personal voice is indeed political, particularly regarding the validity of art. Read more below:

Jean Rhys & Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys & Wide Sargasso Sea. Portrait by Teresa Chilton

Our last week in Barbados has seen a wonderful anxiety as the process has been accelerated and we realise that we have only moments left on this island before we fly home. The growing cache of audio files have started to appear in their true form, as an incomplete sketch of a place and people, with some parts coloured-in vividly and the rest remaining an outline.

The week has forced reflections on the interview process and how this is best done. At the end of every hour we spent interviewing, we wished for more. More time, more thought, better questions, less politeness, more anecdotes, and more friction. We have learnt that the peculiar intimacy of the interview is a whole art in itself. Coming to like each other is a quicker process than how we come to disagree.

Writer and journalist Gay Talese, in an interview in New New Journalism talks about ‘the art of hanging out’ and how he followed Frank Sinatra for two years to write his seminal essay Frank Sinatra Has A Cold. This was the art of both constantly reminding the subject that they are being watched, questioned, scrutinised and gently, gently disappearing into the background.

In our last interview we met the Queen of Barbados, a woman in her 80s who regaled us with her adventurous life story whilst sitting amongst an amazing collection of Caribbean modern art. Who can say they have lived in Casablanca? She told us about her mother who, at the turn of the century in Barbados, would jog miles in her swimsuit, and even started a women’s group as an avenue to write plays and look after other women’s children. She was another remarkable Bajan woman, ahead of her time. This same lady had also stayed in Jean Rhys’ house in Dominica. Our ghost hunting continued…

Jean Rhys' house in Roseau, Dominica. Image sourced from The Wander Life Blog

Jean Rhys’ house in Roseau, Dominica. Image sourced from The Wander Life Blog

We have looked for Jean Rhys everywhere. She is inimitable and elusive as ever. Yet she has permeated every interview, beyond questions of race and class. The feeling of being outside life or misplaced evoked the reflective state that we often enter in order to mine our own lives for meaning. As one woman we met this week described, she loved Wide Sargasso Sea because she belonged nowhere. This is so common a feeling to our century. It is what connects being Australian with the migration patterns of the Caribbean and the cultural hybridity of the islands.

What is so important about Rhys’ voice as a writer is the brutal gaze, which she turns on herself and her own experiences. It is the unflinching ability to ask what is this and why?

As we contemplate going back to Australia where the validity of art and, in particular, its ability to be political is being blatantly attacked by our government, we are reminded in these interviews that the personal voice is political. Each of these interviews and the stories they have shared has been individual examples of how each life, on reflection, shows clearly its own courage.

This residency is supported in part by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Versia Harris travels to Casa Tomada, Sao Paulo

We are excited to announce that Barbadian artist Versia Harris will be going to Sao Paulo, Brazil for seven weeks on Sunday, May 24, 2015 for a residency with Casa Tomada.

This collaborative programme organized between Fresh Milk and Casa Tomada will see Versia working alongside Brazilian artist Janaina Wagner, interacting with arts professionals, producing and showcasing her work, exploring the Brazilian art scene and looking into the possibility of furthering her studies in Sao Paulo.

Congratulations, Versia! We look forward to keeping up with your residency as it progresses!

About Versia Harris:

 Versia Harris is a Barbadian artist living and working in Weston, St, James, Barbados. She received her BFA in Studio Art in 2012 and was awarded The Lesley’s Legacy Foundation Award, an annual prize given to the top graduate. She participated in her first residency with Projects and Space in 2011 and has since completed a residency with another  local organization called Fresh Milk, followed by a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, and residencies at the Instituto Buena Bista, Curacao and Alice Yard, Trinidad in late 2013. In 2014, Versia’s work was featured in the IV Moscow International Biennial for Young Art themed ‘A Time for Dreams’. She was also apart of the follow up exhibition ‘MOMENTUM_InsideOut screening of ‘A Time For Dreams’, Berlin. Her animation ‘They Say You Can Dream a Thing More Than Once’ was awarded ‘Best New Media Film’ at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, 2014. Versia tackles perceptions of fantasy in contrast to the reality of her invented characters.

About Casa Tomada:

Founded in 2009, Casa Tomada is an independent space for practice, research and reflections of artistic nature. Concerned with the entire process, instead of focusing exclusively on the final work of art, Casa Tomada encourages discussion about emerging contemporary art, not only stimulating the development of artistic and theoretical practices motivated by shared experience, but acting as a catalyst for experiences and connections between artists, researchers, and other independent artistic initiatives. During these years, Casa Tomada organized 8 residences, 2 in partnership with Videobrasil, and one international exchange between São Paulo and London with the Delfina Foundation. Casa Tomada has also run other kinds of programs, all based on young artistic production, connections between different spaces and interdisciplinarity.

Walking / Writing for Rebirth – #CCF

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This week I chose to review A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros; a book drawing attention to how walking has been an integral factor in the lives of many great thinkers, and the role it plays in the creativeness of the mind. I specifically concentrated on Chapter 14: Regeneration and Presence. It focuses on the pilgrim’s long journey as he encounters various landscapes and ‘holy places’, shedding his old self and creating anew. My response to this chapter was to write it out multiple times, all the while stripping it of words each time I rewrote it. The last re-write is representative of the rebirth of the pilgrim.

The above description is from Versia Harris’ response to A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Grosthis 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, look out for our #CCF responses and see the great material we have available at Fresh Milk!

Fresh Milk welcomes Thais Francis to the platform

Thais

Fresh Milk is pleased to welcome our next artist-in-residence Thais Francis, a Trinidad-born, Brooklyn based multi-disciplinary performance artist and writer who will be joining us from May 18 – June 12, 2015. Thais will use her time on the platform to write her first feature film, as well as conduct a community outreach project with students of Workmans Primary School.

About Thais Francis:

Thais is an actor, dancer, singer, writer, and instrumentalist born in Trinidad and Tobago, and raised in Maryland. She is an alumna of the Tisch School of the Arts, at New York University where she studied Drama. As an actor, she has toured in theater both nationally and internationally.  Her work has been seen at the Historic Warner Theater in Washington DC and Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  She was honored by the Root Magazine as one of the 25 under 25 Top Innovators in America. Her academic writings have been featured at The Prindle Institute for Ethics at Depauw University, presented before the staff of the White House and awarded by the Congressional Black Caucus. She has been a featured speaker alongside Howard Zinn at NYU and is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Arts, Performance, and Media NIA Award at NYU.

Her original play OUTCRY has been produced throughout the U.S since its debut in 2012 at NYU and most recently featured in American Theater Magazine.  She has written, produced and starred in her first short film LATE EXPECTATIONS. She currently resides in Brooklyn New York and is working on several scripts for both theater and film as well as music