FRESH MILK’s First Off-Site Performance Artist in Residence – Shanika Grimes

FRESH MILK is happy to be supporting our first off-site performance artist in residence, Shanika Grimes. Shanika is a 2012 graduate of the Barbados Community College’s BFA Fine Art Programme. She is keen to develop her work as a Performance Artist, and because there is little happening here in that field, we would like to offer her a critical space to support her continued development in this area.

Shanika is working to produce one performance every month over a six month period, and will be receiving feedback from an esteemed review panel, using their guidance to further her practice and build a solid body of work. The panel consists of Barbadian artist Ewan Atkinson, curator and art history professor from Rutgers University Tatiana Flores, Trinidadian artist Michelle Isava, and Venezuelan artist Sandra Vivas, all of whom have extensive experience either critically or practically with performance art.

Below are some still shots from the first two performances of her residency.

Shanika Grimes’ Artist Statement:

The stories of other women have become a part of my understanding of the
world; they fuse with my experience, creating a hybrid that seeks to outline the
struggles of womanhood physically and emotionally. For a long time my work
was best articulated in any two dimensional format (printmaking, drawing and
painting); however as of late, it has evolved into the use of my own body and
personality as tools of expression, documented through photography, video and
at times poetry. Through the act of performing, I am able to use personal
inflection as a lens for pieces on gender relations. I enjoy questioning the
categorisation of women from a social standpoint through portraits of women with
animal characteristics. I splice the complex personality of a woman, with the
physical and behavioral characteristics of an instinctive animal. This is done to
outline the absurdity of the unrealistic expectations patriarchal society places on
women. I believe that religion and the law have been manipulated through male
dominance to suppress and ultimately control women. I have begun my
exploration using the multilayered personality of a cat. A black cat symbolizes
both good and evil, both god and demon. It is this duality that outlines the power
and powerlessness and mystery of womanhood.

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