UK-based writer and curator of Bajan and Jamaican heritage, Aliyah Hasinah, shares her final blog post about her Fresh Milk international residency. Aliyah speaks about her last round of studio visits, trips to exhibitions and conversations with cultural workers in Barbados, ending her account of the residency experience with a series of questions to reflect on upon her return home. Read more below:
For the last 4 years, every time I travelled I collected a postcard. Postcards specifically featuring Black People portrayed in interesting (often racist) ways or of histories we may have assumed. When in Barbados, this trip I failed to do so. Having read excerpts of Krista Thompson’s ‘An Eye for the Tropics’, I felt the impact that the postcards I’d collected on my travels actually had. They continue the romanticism and acceptance of racism in these spaces, and it was profound for me to completely disengage from this practice on this particular land.
Barbados in November 2020, changed me. It chemically and spiritually altered me and gave a new clarity to my ambitions. A big thank you to my co-resident Pascale for being an incredible force and inspiration throughout this residency.
So the 4 weeks have really flown by. I’m not quite sure how the residency is over but it is. To say the experience was transformative is an understatement. My last week saw me preparing for Independence Day with many visits, including a preview of the Flower Forest’s new installations as well as meeting with Janice Whittle at Queen’s Park Gallery to discuss the NCF’s role in Barbados’ visual arts landscape and plans for the future..
I also had the honour of meeting Ras Ishi and Ras Akyem this week as well as talking to Winston Kellman. All of whom have been great inspirations of mine.
I could talk forever about these experiences but I will keep it short and full of photos instead. I also visited The Brighton Storeroom gallery to see their latest group exhibition..
I have a lot of questions (as always) brewing, these include:
How does the NCF get better at engaging with post-emerging artists and dissolving bureaucracy in their processes?
Who holds the White elites of Barbados accountable for the continued coloniality on the island and stringent segregation?
Why are some Slave Codes in Barbados still within the legal constitution? Why is drumming banned late at night ?
What does republic status mean for working class Bajans?
How can curators, artists and strategists work together to continue building artistic infrastructure in Barbados?
What does investing in Barbados’ art community look like for the art industries across the Caribbean and globe?
How do we amplify artists’ dreams into a reality? What needs to be understood and what knowledge shared?
Who will hail up and support the Black Visual Artists who involve a more radical praxis in Barbados?
Thanks again to everyone who’s been reading my blogs and feel free to connect with me on Instagram or Twitter @aliyahhasinah.
Nuff love and take care
Aliyah Hasinah x