I have been at the Fresh Milk Contemporary Art Platform in Barbados for a week now. This is my first experience as a resident artist and I don’t believe there is a better space for me to be incubated at this stage of my journey. As someone who usually spends endless hours moving about to the yoga classes I teach, meetings for The Goat Dairy, interviews for my research on contemporary perspectives on the Grenada Revolution or helping my family with some errand…. it feels incredibly refreshing to spend my time between the Fresh Milk space and the apartment I am staying in just a short walk from here. This little nook in Barbados is offering me solitude that I have not embraced in a while. I love connecting and sharing with people, it energizes me, but I also know that I deny myself necessary alone time in the midst of nurturing others. Here I’m finding balance, building connections with incredible artists, activists and critical thinkers in Barbados while also carving out space for myself.
The challenge that I have set for myself in this residency is to create, in essence, my first short film of this nature. This is the first time I am phrasing it this way, probably because acknowledging the monumental nature of that task has the potential to scare me into inaction. But, I am past that stage. Sure, I have manicou in the headlights kinds of moments, however, as I continue to grow, I can snap out of those moments sooner and meet these beautiful challenges head on. A wonderful friend recently reminded me that often times when we are faced with things that, for whatever reason, arouse fear or anxiety, our instinct is to lean back. But consider the power of leaning in. What happens when we quiet our inner critic and open ourselves up to the risk of utter miserable failure? Well, realistically we are also making ourselves available to the possibility of utterly blissful success, in whatever ways we define success.
This week at Fresh Milk has been a lot of brainstorming as I begin to take this film from concept through the stages of development to a final piece. The last time I did this was under extreme circumstances but was actually also in Barbados, at the Caribbean Tales film festival in April 2012. I collaborated with B.l.i.p productions from Jamaica to participate in the 48 hour film challenge. It was such an intense experience to have to conceptualize, script, cast, shoot, edit AND render out a film in exactly 48 hours. On top, of that I didn’t know Henry and Adjani, the creators of B.l.i.p, at all before the festival – but the processes brought us together in the most powerful way. In an experience like that, the time is so tight that you just have to give yourself over to the creative process and we did. People felt it and the film was honored with the award of best director and screened as one of the top entries. This experience is different of course. I have the time to let this film develop in a unique organic process. I have the support of Annalee, a contemporary artist and director of Fresh Milk, and I am reaching out to my creative colleagues as well. One of the values of this experience is being able to get feedback and critiques. I miss that deeply from my days in the Studio Art program at Smith College. So, this week has been a process of building on previous experiences of ‘leaning in’ and I continue to give myself permission to ‘lean into’ this opportunity that I have been presented with.
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