British interdisciplinary artist of Caribbean heritage, Helen Cammock, shares her first blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. Starting by exploring the island and being introduced to the physical and cultural climate in Barbados, Helen has been using her time so far to take in the details of a new place, appreciate the openness of the experience, and embrace the beginnings of ideas as she starts to collect material to work with as things unfold. Read more below:
There’s been an Animal Flower Cave, the crashing waves and precariously poised rocks at Bathsheba, coral, sugar cane fields, potholes, sunshine, rain, buffeting wind, cows, geckos, an affectionate cat, dogs accompanying (well shepherding) us, swimming with a turtle, the impending birth of a foal…
There’s been meeting representatives from the office of the Cultural Industries Development Act and the National Cultural Foundation, and understanding a little more about the cultural landscape in Barbados….And there’s been Annalee, her family and colleagues at Fresh Milk giving us the most wonderful welcome.
I have spent this week trying to concentrate on detail – what I see and hear around me – making space for thoughts, questions, ideas and stories to emerge.
This is the beauty and the basis of this residency – it is an opening, an aperture, an opportunity to develop these new ideas and thoughts – somewhere new, different, alien – somehow reassuringly unknown – and to find space to be in my own head.
On the second day I began filming – extracts, fragments – and by the fourth day I began to write – just the beginnings of something – but that’s the point. It really feels like the beginning of something – and this is why I’m here – for these very beginnings of something.
Next week I’ll visit the museum and its library – I’m not sure what I’m looking for or what I’ll find but I’m starting with the production of sugar on the island. I’ll shoot a closed sugar factory and the tempestuous coast at North Point. I’ll deliver a photography workshop in a local primary school and give an artist talk at Barbados Community College. It’s busy yet at the end of this first week, the feeling that the beginnings of something are with me…and that I have been offered the space to do something yet unknown with these beginnings, is palpable as I await the imminent birth of a foal here on Prendoma Stud.