CATAPULT – New Grant Funds for Caribbean Artists

American Friends of Jamaica, Kingston Creative and The Fresh Milk Art Platform partner on $320,000 US programme

In light of the severe impact that COVID-19 is having on creative people and the arts sector, a fund of US$320,000 from the Open Society Foundations has been granted to the American Friends of Jamaica, in collaboration with Kingston Creative and The Fresh Milk Art Platform, in support of artists, creatives and cultural practitioners across the Caribbean region. This grant acknowledges the current global pandemic, a crisis disproportionately impacting the creative sector in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which lack the resources to provide adequate support to those working in this vital sector.

Caron Chung, Executive Director AFJ stated, “Many are facing threats to their basic existence today and uncertainty for the future as we are contending with unprecedented challenges.  This is a time when we need to work together to offer some semblance of stability to the Arts.  Collaboration is at the core of the mission of the AFJ and we are pleased to facilitate the Catapult project.”

CATAPULT | A Caribbean Arts Grant will target participants living and working across the Dutch, English, French, and Spanish speaking regions. This five-month comprehensive arts programme includes funding online creative events, art writing, digital skills training, residencies and virtual discursive salons.

CATAPULT is particularly interested in working with arts and cultural practitioners who are exploring the broad critical themes of Culture, Human Rights, Gender, LGBTQIA+ and Climate Justice from Caribbean perspectives. The team especially welcomes applications from those who do not have permanent employment at this time.

Kingston Creative’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Andrea Dempster-Chung commented, “It has been very exciting to develop this project. It is aligned with our mission to support creative people and is also our first opportunity to work across the region. COVID-19 has had a very serious impact on artists within Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean and this grant will provide the critical financial support, visibility and capacity-building that creatives need to navigate the future.”

CATAPULT will increase the capacity of Caribbean-based artists to navigate the digital space and learn new ways to connect with diverse global audiences.  It will also promote the visibility of cultural practitioners by expanding the pool of online content from the region, enabling artists to engage wider audiences while increasing the potential to earn beyond their borders.

The collaboration will support the following projects:

(i) Caribbean Artist Showcase, (ii) Caribbean Creative Online, (iii) Digital Creative Training, (iv) Consultancy Vouchers, (v) Lockdown Virtual Salon and (vi) Stay Home Artist Residency.

Fresh Milk’s Founding Director Annalee Davis expressed enthusiasm regarding the partnership. “Fresh Milk is pleased to have the opportunity to partner on this critical project nurturing Caribbean artists. With little support available at the state level for so many cultural practitioners working across this vulnerable region, having an opportunity to facilitate Stay At Home Residencies and Virtual Salons means that more artists can safely remain in their studios and do what they do best-make art!”

About the Partners:

American Friends of Jamaica | The AFJ has a near 40 year history of funding charitable organizations in Jamaica in the fields of Education, Healthcare and Economic Development. A registered 501 c 3 nonprofit headquartered in New York City, AFJ relies on individual and corporate contributions made by donors who believe in our work and will advocate on our behalf. Part of the AFJ’s mission is to facilitate donor directed contributions which enables donors to support registered charitable organizations aligned with their own goals for philanthropy.

Kingston Creative is a registered non-profit organization founded in February 2017. Its mission is to enable creatives to succeed so that they can create economic and social value, gain access to global markets and have a positive impact on their community.


Fresh Milk is an organisation whose aim is to nurture, empower and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence and success. Fresh Milk supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development and foster a thriving art community.


Have a question about the TVE programme, or want to engage directly with the Caribbean and Oceanic artists about their work?

#askTVE lets you submit your feedback and questions directly to our team, and we will share the artists’ responses with you in an open forum!

Remember that the TVE Digital Exhibition featuring works by a number of this year’s participants is also available for your viewing & feedback from November 20th – December 20th, 2017.

Respond to the form here!

Fresh Milk welcomes Umi Baden-Powell & Hannah Catherine Jones to the Platform

Fresh Milk is pleased to welcome UK-based artists Hannah Catherine Jones and Umi Baden-Powell, of Barbadian and Dominican heritage respectively, to the platform from for the month of November, 2017.

TAXI FOR TWO, 2012. © [Hannah Catherine Jones + Umi BadenPowell]. Mapping fox roadkill + event documentation.

Umi and Hannah, through their collective agency ‘Ancestral Architecture’, will use their residency at Fresh Milk to explore “decolonized” bush rum (flavouring of rum with African herbs and spices) as metaphorical and literal fluid vehicle to connect with their own ancestral architecture as members of the Caribbean diaspora. They will be studying the processes and transformations (cane to sugar, sugar to alcohol, product to colonial capital, etc.) of rum, a key product in transatlantic slavery, and explore the ways their ancestors channelled trickster tactics and used consumption of decolonized bush rum to fuel another decolonisation tactic – music and performance.


About Umi Baden-Powell:

Umi Baden-Powell is an artist, designer and aspiring architect living and working in South East London for the past 7 years. Her background in Fine Art (BA FineArt, the Slade School of Fine Art, University CollegeLondon) and her experience as a maker greatly informs her experimental but pragmatic approach to architecture and design. Umi is interested in ways to initiate egalitarian, ecological, social, grassroots and cultural interventions, as well as forming proposals for alternative models of living in the city – activism through architecture.

About Hannah Catherine Jones:

Hannah Catherine Jones (aka Foxy Moron) is an artist, scholar, multi-instrumentalist, radio presenter (NTS), composer, conductor and founder of Peckham Chamber Orchestra – a community project established in 2013. Her broad practice is connected through a central spine of inclusivity and decolonization. Myths (both ancient and modern), word-play, appropriation and her own voice (in song) are her materials. The videos she composes use   fragmented appropriated footage, as do her orchestral compositions. Her Oweds are a temporal form of self-reparation, a method of connection with ancestors though sonic ritual using voice, theremin and video her Afrofuturistic operatic performances bridge visual arts (video) and music (sonic improvisation).

Submissions to the Fresh Milk ArtBoard 2017: Online Exhibition


“I support the idea of cultural proximity and solidarity throughout the Caribbean…This might bring further awareness about art practices in the region and possible outlets/options for promotion and diffusion of public artworks, raising concerns about issues such as the growing of environmental threats in the Caribbean, social progress, intercultural perceptions and exchanges in the islands, etc.” – caryl* ivrisse-crochemar


Fresh Milk was heartened by the response to our Caribbean-wide open call for submissions to our public Fresh Milk ArtBoard project this year. We received twenty submissions from across eleven countries, and the enthusiasm for an initiative which spans cultural & linguistic boundaries and celebrates the synchronicity between our nations was palpable.

Because of this, and in light of Barbados hosting this year’s CARIFESTA XIII festival – which coincides with Fresh Milk’s 6th anniversary! – we want to focus on Caribbean creativity, and are hosting an online exhibition to showcase all of the entries received for this edition of the ArtBoard. In a region where, in some countries, public art is not widely seen, we are proud to give whatever visibility we can to those who want to see this kind of visual literacy grow and develop. We look forward to seeing public art initiatives continue to strengthen.

In going through this year’s submissions, we were also pleased to have the input of an advisory group, who gave generously of their time to provide feedback which informed the Fresh Milk Team’s selection. The advisors were:

Sincere thanks to all of the advisors, and of course to the artists that participated. Please take a look at our online showcase below, and stay tuned for when we announce the final results this week!


“Public art allows a dialogue between artists and the community that’s surrounds them. It engages the future generation and empowers people. It becomes an interact of colors, forms and ideas – or a path to discuss political & social issues.” – Sofia Maldonado



Ras Akyem-I (Barbados)

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“….art is an ancient way of thinking; an act of magic……. an intuitive response to an ancestral/primal imperative, a passionate urge to create or destroy”………….
Ras  Akyem-I  (95)

The  Act  Of  Painting…

I have recently discovered that the overt planning of an art-work, often establishes parameters/limitations which merely serve to restrict, confine and reduce the creative intuition to an exact-science; confining the imagination and blocking the path to potential discovery….  hence I commence my work with a vague sense of intent, which is only realized/revealed during the actual creative process!

In the “ritual” of making art, I seek to give evidence to something which has no other mundane means of manifesting itself; and always with the hope that the result (when it emerges) would surprise me …… consequently, in this new body of work I’m attempting to map/negotiate that “uncertain” space/terrain in the sub-conscious where reality exist with-out the burden of imposed meanings….  and could be defined by pre-requisites other than linear logic……….

Major Themes…

(1)  ….The “Blakk-Body” in exile, it’s amputated/disconnected lifeline from the ‘cultural-womb’ that once nurtured and nourished us….. the blakk  ‘diasporic-body’ as “object & commodity” in western cultures.

(2) The interruption and sometimes total loss of the “Ancestral memory”, compounded with the torturous gradual decay of everything that defines its existence.

(3) Re-configuration and re-location of the “Blakk-psyche” in the new Global-village space….

(4) TEXT…. the use of words in the paintings is a ploy intended to establish oblique verbal gestures which serve to evoke or amplify visual experience…

Alternately, the text may also function as a mere spatial device, which assist in defining atmospheric perspective on a liminal two-dimensional picture plane……

(5) Exile Series:- These paintings explore, and attempt to articulate the exquisite loneliness as well as the colossal indifference that one experiences as an artist in a HOSTILE visual-space….   and especially when that space is defined as HOME …!

– ras  akyem-i (art-aniMAL), Oct. 2008.


Alicia Brown (Jamaica)

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About the works:

  1. Title: ‘Street dawg’, Charcoal on Strathmore paper, 2017

The piece ‘Street dawg’ is a part of a body of work I have been creating that aims to critique the issue of social construct resulting from remnants of colonialism, globalization and their impact on forming cultural identity within a Caribbean context. The piece addresses the process and performance involved in formulating cultural identity where mimicry is utilized as tool/device that aids in adaptation to the space we occupy. In Jamaica and other parts of the diaspora animals especially dogs are treated as outsiders and occupy the streets, in a similar manner, people from a low social strata in society is treated with disregard. The obsession for acceptance or belonging creates tension, a sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of the other generates class warfare. As a result dominant cultures are copied with the aim to fit in. In the piece reference is made to Dutch Portraiture where aspects of this culture such as the ruff collar and composition, is integrated in the piece to position the work in a historical context. The ruff collar is also used as an object that elevates the status of the dog by placing it in a scene within the story that is accepted.

  1. Title: ‘Picket fence’, Charcoal on Strathmore paper, gold paper doilies, 2017

‘Picket fence’ is another piece from a body of work that I recently completed. The title of the piece and the content of the work was influenced by the iconic status of American society symbolizing the ideal middle-class suburban life, large house, and peaceful living that is paramount in positioning oneself in society. In the piece I wanted to make a comparison within a Jamaican/Caribbean space where similar dreams is fantasized especially by persons from a low social strata to live in a space where one is accepted. There is a certain mannerism, way of dress, language and fashion of the dominant culture that is mimicked with the hope of belonging in that space. Also in this piece the ruff collar presented in gold against the dark background created with charcoal an art medium that is not seen as valuable as oil paints, this is deliberate used to create a contrast and to highlight the division within society and the obsession with self and the process of forming cultural identity.

About the artist:

Alicia Brown is a Jamaican artist, she was born in 1981, in St. Ann Jamaica. She attended the Edna Manley College of the Visual Performing Arts, Kingston, Jamaica, and received a diploma in Art Education in 2003 and a BFA in Painting in 2009. Brown also attended the New York Academy of Art in New York and obtained a MFA in Painting in 2014. Her work has been shown in a number of exhibitions both locally and internationally. Alicia was one of the winners of the Dawn Scott Memorial Award in the Jamaica Biennial 2017. Her work was also shown in the National Biennial 2012 and Young Talent 2015. In 2016 she held a solo show at Studio 174 in Kingston, Jamaica entitled Copy and Placed. In 2003 and 2004, she was awarded bronze medals for her entries in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition. Alicia Brown uses traditional and contemporary painting techniques and iconographic references to examine race, cultural identity, adaptation, beauty and social status. She works and live in Kingston, Jamaica.


Andrew Fitt (St. Lucia/Trinidad)

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About the work:

The name of this piece of digital art is “Indie Visual Movement”. It represents the independent freedom to be oneself as a human being without fear of ridicule or reprimand for doing so by society, to express one’s self truth which makes a person a living work of art.

About the artist:

My name is Andrew Fitt, I live in Trinidad. I was born on the island of St. Lucia in 1973. My birth had complications, the result being Cerebral Palsy, which means that any fine motor skill is challenging.

I taught myself how to use technology to create art. I refined my skill and built up a portfolio over a number of years, eventually applying to International Fine Arts College in Miami where I was accepted. Although I earned a degree in 3D Animation, I decided that I had a stronger interest in graphic/visual art.I discovered Corel Painter while at IFAC. It enabled me to create my artwork on my terms, and allowed me to work with a diverse array of traditional media through digital means.

I have been exhibiting in Trinidad since 2000, with six solo exhibitions and a group show. I’ve also exhibited ten pieces of work at the Art Fusion Gallery in Miami, which was part of Art Basel 2012.


Avantia Damberg (Curaçao)

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About the work:

(This art work is made for an exhibition called Isla In Our Lives, 100 years  refinery.)

Curaçao is a lovely island. We are happy here. Curaçao has a  certain je ne sais quoi. It always had, probably since the Native Amerindians set foot on it.

Then there is the refinery, in the heart of the island.
A stinking sore, not only to the eyes.

A small group of powerful and wealthy people control the the island and preferably leave the status quo, as long as they and their families can continue business as usual. One economic pillar is the refinery. The government is also controlled by them, and does their bidding.

This in itself fuels our anger and hopelessness. Reminding us of the colonization then and the hidden neo-colonization now.

Our island yearns for a more independent mindset, a progressive one. Shell, later ISLA, makes and breaks us. It determines for a large part, who we are today. It brought economic and educational progress that resulted in growth and richness in culture.

The refinery doesn’t fit anymore. There is a time to come, and there is a time to go. That time has come. But then again, what comes tomorrow should not continue the colonization of our minds, being both the colonizer and the colonized, but should continue to grow us and bring us closer to the next generation of independent Yu di Kòrsou.

About the artist:

Avantia Damberg (1977, Leeuwarden) lives and works in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. She graduated in 2007 from the art academy Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam in Audiovisual Arts and started her career as a visual artist in 2008. She had a good start right here on the island by the support of established artists such as Tirzo Martha and curator Jennifer Smit. Exhibitions in Amsterdam, Paris, Tallinn, Madrid, Mexico City, and Berlin followed but Avantia prefers to exhibit as much as possible in Curaçao and in the Caribbean region, making it her new center of contemporary art. Avantia uses video, sculpture, animation and installations and loves to work with texts.


Avianne Charles (Trinidad)

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About the work:

Send Help reflects the desire for human interaction and attention as a coping mechanism with mental illnesses. It depicts the need to associate with persons such as close members and therapists who are compassionate and empathetic throughout the coping process.

About the artist:

Avianne is a Trinidadian based artist who predominantly works with acrylics and watercolors. Former student of St. Joseph’s School of Art she has successfully completed Cambridge based examinations and has progressed to self-teaching on various techniques and mediums. Her artwork is influenced greatly by mental illnesses and the societal issues that affect marginalized groups locally and internationally.


David Gumbs (Saint-Martin)

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Artist statement:

David Gumbs is a multimedia artist from the island of Saint-Martin. His research investigates the spectator’s perception and mental landscape.

David Gumbs’ artistic approach is based on a famous quotation from XVIIth century French philosopher and chemist Antoine Lavoisier: « Mass is neither gained nor lost, merely transformed ». Thus, life’s cycle, infinite scale, memory, and the Sacred, are themes that emerge from larger topics of interest such as inner/outer landscape, and offscreen. These immersed spaces reveal personal inner projections from the unconscious, thus emerging this « Mental Archeology » through spectator’s perception. His research focuses on the different feelings, emotions, and stimulations that build memory.

Discovering the Martinican and Cuban flora triggered a vivid passion for mythical forest Gods in island cultures. This was the beginning of an identity quest through the exploration of topics dealing with the offscreen of perception, and rhizome graphical macroscopic universes.

His polymorphic art reveals the interbreeding and hybridization process in the collective and individual unconsciousness in Caribbean imagination.

The presented works are from the Offscreen and the Blossoms realtime interactive and generative video series. These images are created in realtime by using fractal data and user intervention that creates and transforms the patterns on the fly. The Blossoms series was created during David’s Davidoff Art Initiative Beijing residency in 2016, where tropical flora was used as a metaphor of air purification while the random animated patterns were growing and expanding on the city walls.

Why choose these works?

Because they have a strong social cohesion as they engage local public of all ages, both as actors and spectators, through an authentic and unique intercultural artistic experience, thus fostering cultural proximity and solidarity among Caribbean ethnicities. They also increase awareness about the growing threats on nature, and islands’ vulnerability to rising sea levels and Sahara sand pollution.

About the artist:

The Blossoms interactive installation was invited to be shown as part of the Special Projects of the Jamaica Biennial 2017. The « Water & Dreams » video was selected for the Relational Undercurrents exhibition at MOLAA, and was also shown at the Digital exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

In 2016, David Gumbs was selected as the Davidoff Art Initiative artist in residence in Beijing China, where he exhibited at the World Art Museum / China Millenium Monument, and Aotu Studio independent art space.

His « Offscreen of Perception » videos have been shown at Video Islands in New York, the opening exhibition of the Memorial Acte Museum (Macte) in Guadeloupe and Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE) in Barbados in 2015; at the trinidad + tobago film festival – New Media, Transforming Spaces – Bahamas and the Beep Bop Boop New Media Festival – Florida in 2014; at the BIAC Biennal – Martinique and Art Bémao New media selection – Guadeloupe in 2013; at Happy Island Project Biennal – Aruba in 2012; and at the prestigious Latitudes, Paris City Hall in 2009.

He has taking part in numerous new media festivals in Europe and in France, for example the Aborescence Festival in Aix-en-Provence. David’s work is regularly shown all over the world and in the Caribbean.


Dominique Hunter (Guyana) & Shanice Smith (Trinidad & Tobago)

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About the work:

During our time at Caribbean Linked IV in Aruba last year, Shanice and I observed quite a number of similarities in the themes of our individual practices and often spoke casually of one day working together. When this opportunity presented itself, it seemed the perfect time to explore how this joint project could manifest. We knew almost immediately which bodies of works we would be drawing material from for this new project: her series titled “Nice ting does be in glass case” completed while in her final year of the BFA program at UWI and my series “Yesterday, tomorrow, forever” from my time at the Caribbean Linked IV residency in Aruba. Both series of works (produced last year) addressed the commodification of female bodies and relied on similar techniques to draw viewers in and engage them in an intimate way.

Since we are currently on the last lap of an artist led residency initiative we both designed to strengthen ties between creative practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, we decided our point of entry should be our common ground. Trinidad and Guyana has a number of intersecting histories and common threads that link the two territories in a way that is quite distinctive from our other neighbors in the region. One of the major commonalities we chose to focus on was our shared colonial-styled architecture. Although Trinidad has a strong Spanish influence and Guyana has a strong British influence, we found a number of similarities in the architecture of both spaces. There were similar types of windows, fretwork, wrought iron designs and decorative motifs/molds found on old colonial buildings.

For us, those elements and the era they represent provided an interesting framework to consider how women’s bodies have been regarded and policed within societies that depend heavily on the “church” and “state” to direct the manner in which those bodies should be considered. Ideas of censorship and even the virtues associated with “true” womanhood are pulled into sharp focus, questioning any perceived progress made in the centuries since women have been fighting for control of their own bodies.

About the artists:

Shanice Smith (b. 1991, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) received two certificates from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus in Social work and Psychology before going on to pursue her BFA at the same institution.

Her work investigates how messages are conveyed in the public domain and is explored through video and performance-based pieces. Smith is concerned with female exploitation and objectification and has a keen interest in children’s issues. Her most recent exhibition was staged at the Caribbean Linked IV in Aruba, August of 2016.

Dominique Hunter (b. 1987, Georgetown, Guyana) completed her BFA (Hons) from the Barbados Community College and was the recipient of the Leslie’s Legacy Foundation Award for Most Outstanding Work at Portfolio.

Her work critiques the (non)-representation of Black female bodies in art history and stereotypical portrayals of said bodies in contemporary print media, bringing into focus issues of sexuality, commodification and exploitation. By employing and exaggerating popular advertising techniques used in magazines her work attempts to critique the manner in which the female body continues to be idealized and “sold” (to men for consumption and women for validation).

Hunter has exhibited regionally and internationally, and has participated in the Caribbean Linked IV residency and most recently the Vermont Studio Center residency, after being awarded the Reed Foundation Fellowship.


Greg Bailey (Jamaica)

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About the work:

Colonial Legacies aims to make contact with issues that are affecting the structure/shaping of Post-Post-Colonial Jamaica. A major part of this shaping has been spearheaded by Jamaica’s diplomatic society through policies and laws that are continually sculpting the country’s economic and cultural identity.  The images used in Colonial Legacies arrived in the same conversation only through means of juxtaposition as this visual output tackles the complex dialogue regarding the legacies of a country that is still crawling on the ideals of independence. To date, it is yet to establish itself as such outside the terms written and signed on paper, thus, remaining very dependent on aids from foreign countries.

The tradition of leadership in the capacity of government has been ever so often described as corrupt, self-fattening, factious and deceptive even. Colonial Legacies exhibit themes of crime and violence, race and classism, clowning, constraint, gender and perceived control as well as psychological – connect and disconnect. The layering of these themes are not aimed at answering any questions but more so to stimulate dialogues about a global placement and awareness of our contemporary space. It also mirrors the connection of the perceived disconnect between boundaries of class, wealth, security, crime and image.

About the artist:

Greg Bailey was born in Trelawny, Jamaica 1986. In September 2006 he moved to Kingston where he pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts as a painting major at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

During his study, he exhibited in several shows at the Cage (school’s gallery) including the annual student exhibitions. Upon a successful course completion in 2010, Bailey continued to pursue his passion in an effort to make the transition from a student to a professional artist. He exhibited at the Jamaica Biennial in 2010, 2014 where he was nominated for the Aaron Matalon Award and in the 2017 staging he won the Dawn Scott Memorial Award.

For Bailey, painting is the frequency through which he communicate his reactions towards the impulse of society. He is intrigued by social-constructs and the ambiguities of the reality it imposes on the human psyche. His consciousness of context and content has helped to channel his interrogations toward the provocative nature of Jamaica’s social-welfare; its legacies, its atrocities and how, interestingly, its history lingers in its present. His works are conversations about the phenomena of a two sided culture that are extremely different and although they exist within the very same geographical space, they never collide nor mingle. These opposite extremes has lured him into painting beautiful renditions of not so beautiful realities. Realities of deception, the cultivation of decadence, self-hate, self-glorification as well as the lack of vision to identify with and combat the reoccurrence of past atrocities.


Kevon Hall (Barbados)

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About the work:

“Why not find a place in her where you could stay?” A poetic approach, a pun non the least. An interpretation towards an emotional connection of any relationship, where having comfort allows you to reside. My work inspires a sense of peace, shelter , a space of beauty so to speak, in having an important feminine figure in one’s life. A metaphor visually represented as sceneries and places from memories upon memories with a person. A place where you can always go, a place where you can always hear their words, whether a person is physically close to their loved ones or not. A mental place where they can always go to have her back. A place where the visuals match the kind of beauty she is to you.

About the artist:

Kevon Hall is a young artist and young entrepreneur born and raised in Bridgetown, Barbados, . Shortly after graduating from Barbados Community College, he entered into numerous solo and group exhibitions to build his local reputation. Even now at the age of 28, venturing into the business arena has always been a mission of his. From entering Youth Entrepreneurship programs to working alongside local businesses, “Von Hall” created and maintained a healthy lifestyle using his craft. This craft that borders along the lines of a traditional painter to digital painting, where his latest works have been highly influenced by the fashion industry. His works are currently known and signed by his trade mark brand, Von Arts.


Kimani Beckford (Jamaica)

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About the work:

Black is Beautiful (B.i.B) signifies a very important label as it defines a visual revolution. Black in this context is used as a racial significance and the literal application of black pigment are intended for strength, power and dominance along with other colours. There is a strong concern to traditional racial expressions and the imbalance of beauty within communities. It is with relevance that each person respectfully affirms their presence in history as adaptation influences cultures. Identity has always been a priority in m any cultures and for many races; I do believe it is very important. The aesthetics of physical appearance play an important role in identity and that is why I personally choose my subject matter and placement thereof, with careful consideration. Placements are of iconic associations with religious and royal significance. Compositions are expressed though intentional colour choices of yellow, gold and black.

My aim is to project respect for ‘self’ and re-contextualizing the premises of what and who is seen as DIVINE. We are all images of what we conceived to be holy and everyone is divine in their own rights. The subject in this work represents a universal portrait. Her expression portrays one of affirmation – of having humility and powerful in her own rights.

This work examines how I view myself as a black person while making a statement on traditional racist expressions that “nothing black is good,” “Black represents ugly and evil” etc. I want to challenge those degrading stigmatize line of black presences. This painting stands as a documentation of all black icons.

About the artist:

Born 1988 in St. Catherine, Jamaica, Kimani Beckford began art as a youngster like any other child. He spent most of his childhood years in Scotts Pass, Clarendon where he attended the Garvey Maceo High School. There Beckford became known for his artistic flair which further confirmed what had already been discovered by his pure passion. His admiration of Marcus Garvey, Mutabaruka and artists such as Phillip Thomas, Kerry James Marshall and Barkley Hendricks has added personal and professional growth; so too did his enrollment at the Visual Arts School at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. During his tenure, he studied painting as major in art school.

Beckford has been involved in several group shows such as the National Biennial of Jamaica (2012, 2014 and 2017). The 2015 Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brasil. Social Atrocities at the Olympia Gallery, Kingston, Jamaica, 2014. In 2010, selected pieces appeared in Paris (UNESCO sponsored exhibition), Madrid (exhibited at Andorra’s embassy), Lisbon (Museo da Cidade), Andorra-Andorra da Villa (Ara Art Gallery), Andorra-Ordino (Casa Rossell Garden).

He has participated in the second edition of the UNESCO Art camp in Andorra (Spain) 2010 – for which he was selected from a host of applicants. In 2013 he received the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence in the category of Arts and Culture and of which is the highest honor bestowed upon Jamaican between the ages of 15 and 24. Beckford currently lives and paints in Kingston, Jamaica.


Leasho Johnson (Jamaica)

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About the work:

This artwork is an extension from my solo show Belasario and the soundboy, where I remix or “re-tell” a story created from a historic image/artwork depicting black identity, especially from a present-day contemporary black culture like Dancehall. “How to kill a soundboy” samples the painting “The punishment of the four stakes in the colonies” by Marcel Verdier 1849. In the original one slave is depicted whipping a naked slave staked on the ground. In this version he is being stoned by vinyl records, creating a parallel of a sound boy “beating” another literally. Usually in a sound clash they would say this metaphorically. I thought this artwork gives an insight on how violence plagues ideas of masculinity in black postcolonial culture, how it seems to have a haunting presence in modern day culture.

About the artist:

Leasho Johnson was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica on December 5, 1984. With his father being an artist, he was exposed to art at a tender age while spending time in his studio drawing and painting. Educated at Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Leasho graduated in 2009 with a degree in Visual Communication.

Social commentary is an integral part of his work. He believes the contradictions that he encounters living in Jamaica speak volumes in relation to the black experience in the western hemisphere. He often juxtaposes cartoons with realistic imagery since the approachable nature of cartoons enables him to break down contentious, often disturbing issues and make them seem harmless, even comedic and in the end more palatable.

Leasho enjoys crossing these approaches to art creation; he likes the idea that cartoons belong to the imagination while realism belongs to representation. He thoroughly enjoys fusing or even blurring the tension points of these styles to pull on something that lives both in the mind and the real world. His intention is to see if he can create art that can cross all social borders and create another layer to black representation in fine art.

Leasho’s works are influenced by Pop culture with a mix of various graffiti/graphic art styles, spanning from paintings, collage, sculpture, street art and some digital medium.


Luk Gama (Guadeloupe)

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About the work:

The title of my project is “moun”, meaning “human being” in Guadeloupean creole.

I’ve found an interesting way to make a connection between the Guadeloupean word –
“moun” – and the English one – “moon”, exploring the relationship between this stellar
object and his influence on us, the way it is commonly seen in many traditional
Caribbean cultures. It is also a new depiction of a series of caligramas I have created in Guadeloupean. Part of my practice is about revealing the graphic essence of an “oral” culture, because underlying idea that often accompanies this; that is is somehow a weak subculture without conceptual or intellectual impact (when talking about traditional expressions of cultures). I’m a practitioner of several traditional Guadeloupean arts, so countering this notion is one of the reasons for my interest in this field.

My different compositions, which I create as creative opportunities such as calls for
projects, participate in a nomadic and moving discourse. They must also be presented
in ways which give a clearer visibility to this research that has existed for some years. Indeed, my diploma work officially inaugurates this approach. I wrote a hypothesis of graphic language drawn from the scenography of traditional Creole tales. And since that event (1998), I have continued to experiment with this, including with this piece “moun”.

Using the creole language for an image to be displayed first in an English-speaking
country, associated with the type of “ethnic” forms I use, I want to challenge the public
about its relationship to the image in general and on its relationship to writing in

The following is a translation of a poem I wrote in 2009:


Annou sonjé
Annou chonjé
Annou rantré an sonjézin an nou,
Annou, an nou !
Annou basé Lavi asi do a Lalin
Annou ba lanmò do an lonbraj a Solèy
Annou rantré an sonjézin an nou,
Annou, an nou !

Luk… (07/04/09 – 21h29)


We recall us
Let’s remember
Let’s get into our imaginaries,
Let’s get in us!
Let’s try to seduce life on the back of the Moon
Let’s turn our backs on Death, in the shade of the Sun
Let’s get into our imaginaries,
Let’s get in us!

Luk… (07/04/09 – 21h29)
Trad.: 20/07/17

* ”Sonjézin” is a guadeloupean word I created to say “imaginary” in order to use a
more deep vocabulary than the usually french “creolized” words to say the same

About the artist:

Born in 1978, and graduated from the art school of Martinique in 1998, Luk Gama a multifaceted artist with eclectic tastes. His cultural commitment is deeply rooted in the Caribbean.

Living and working in Guadeloupe, after several local collective exhibitions, he began to be known internationally in 2012, notably for his selection and participation in the Absent Art international exhibition, an event of the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora, an initiative of the British European Design Group (London). In the same year, he participated in the first online edition of the International Reggae Poster Contest, a contest organized by Jamaican graphic designer Michael Thompson (now deceased). Out of the official selection of the hundred winners on the thousands of participants from all over the world, he was on a list of 10 designers receiving a special mention from the international jury.

In 2015, he presented his first solo exhibition, “Asi chimen … pou bout” (Translated:  On the way … finally) in Guadeloupe, the fruit of a traveling project begun in 2011, through the various cities of the archipelago. Then in 2016, he was selected and participated in the international collective exhibition DIGITAL organized by the National Gallery of Jamaica (Kingston).


Maureen Holder-Singh (Guyana/Barbados)

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About the work:

My digital artwork “Hello Y’all” embodies the intrinsic aspects of Caribbean life that inextricably link us in a social mosaic of perpetual interconnectedness. The colours, sections and shapes are an illustration of the rich cultural blending in juxtaposition with unique sovereignty. This intermingling forms the sacred roots that run like veins leading to one heart. Though ripples of discord might bruise us, they can never cut our ties of consanguinity. The blue skies represent our Hope and the indomitable legacy of the survival of our ancestors. The dark waters reflect the link to South America with their vast rivers as well as their political and historical connection to the Caribbean islands. Water itself may divide the various land masses, but it is also an element of renewal and rebirth for our economies and our personal wellbeing. The various colours of red, black, and gold, the white, blue, green represent the different colours of the flags of Caribbean countries. The sunrise exudes the transitions to the fruition of dreams for us as a regional people.  The eyes looking slightly backwards are taking note of the past just enough to gain new momentum for the future. The encircling of the image shows that we are the alpha and the omega in all relationships. Everything we do comes back to us eventually. “Hello y’all” is more than a greeting. It is a statement that transcends us as a people because it means “I do care about you”. My art piece represents the flamboyant and vibrant soul of the Caribbean.

About the artist:

Mrs. Maureen Holder-Singh is a writer and poet and has designed many digital art pieces on a wide range of topics and prefers to focus on the interconnectedness and perpetuation of the Caribbean culture. She has won many awards in the Literary Arts at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) since 2004. Her poem “Marquita and Her Troupe of Green Vervet Monkeys” won The Ministry of Housing, Lands & the Environment Award. Her Award poem “An Elegy of a Young Barbadian Girl” is included in the National Cultural Foundation’s Winning Words Anthology “Tell Me Lies & Other Barbadian Poems and Short Stories”. Also, Her poem “Red Earth: A Tribute to Bartica” and “Jungle Heart” are included in The Caribbean Writer, a literary journal of the University of the Virgin Islands. She also received the AIDS prize for her poem “The Irony of Breasts” in 2014. Her digital art is another expression for her creativity as a Mental Wellness activist and Family Life and Education advisor.


Monique Gilpin (Jamaica)

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About the work:

The Porcelain Series is a dialogue between the concepts of stability and instability and also the traditional and contemporary realities of life through photography. My yearning for stability is embodied within the exploration of the human form in a three-dimensional space. Every minute of our lives is spent in physical and psychological dialogue with the space around us and the contorted bodies within these oversaturated three dimensional spaces have been transmogrified towards semi-abstraction mimicking hard ceramic surfaces. These walls, metaphorically speaking, play a major part in molding our agreements; all the knowledge, all those rules and concepts about how to behave in this world… The porcelain figurines in many older Jamaican homes seem to be ever-present and are symbolic of a stability that the younger generation of Jamaicans no longer seem to be able to achieve. The contortions and attempted transformation of the bodies represent the psychological struggle to achieve this stability, and somewhat highlights a morphed exaggeration of the human flaws and imperfections. My efforts are to continue to nurture a personal awareness that is forever growing through dialectic vision.

About the artist:

Monique Gilpin was born in 1985 in Montego Bay, St James, Jamaica. She graduated in 2006 from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where she majored in Fine Arts Painting and Photography. As an emerging artist, she has participated in two huge exhibitions hosted by National Gallery of Jamaica. The Jamaica Biennial (2014) and Young Talent (2015). She currently lives in Montego Bay, where she works as an Assistant Curator at National Gallery West located at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.


Nicky Marshall (Barbados)

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About the work:

The symbols of Colonial power, British imperial dominance, Emancipation, Independence, The Land and religion overlap into a ‘super monument’ that reflects the complex, fractured, and stratified nature of relationships, race, color and power in Barbados.

About the artist:

Nicky Marshall is a self taught artist who was born and lives in Barbados. He has exhibited in a number of local exhibitions including the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), the NCF Crop Over Fine Art Exhibition, the Dr. Trevor Carmichael Exhibition, ‘Common Thread’ (Lancaster Great House 2008) and the opening celebration for the Caribbean Arts Fair 2011. In 2008 Nicky was selected to take part in the Barbadiana, travelling to Paris and Brussels. Nicky had his fist one-person show ‘Man vs Monster’ at Art Splash in Barbados in 2013.


Oneika Russell (Jamaica)

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Artist statement:

Characters and stories formed the basis of much of my earlier work. Many of the  narratives were imaginings, re-inventions and re-readings inspired by experience and locations as well as romanticised memories from literature, cartoons, picture books and fairy tales, magazines and other media. My current work however increasingly involves more installation which uses sound, drawing video, prints, books and objects to reclaim and assemble fragmented experiences and thought together. An interest in hand-craft and technological meeting points in service of explorations of history, culture and social narratives has always informed my work.

My work uses collected artefacts of specific bits of visual culture which are filtered and processed through my visual language. I am also interested in how the crafting of cultural and national identity expresses itself in our visual culture and how we invite consumption of these identities. Through my practice I am in search of both quasi-scientific and highly subjective means of understanding the locations, cultures and history from which my identity emerges. Images produced for The Tourism Industry are examples of this. This work is specifically about looking at the ‘sweetness’ of images of ‘Paradise’ which I as the artist enjoy but am also conscious that are at odds with other realities and the dimensionality I experience as a native of one of these sites of ‘Paradise’.

About the artist:

Oneika Russell attended the Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica. From 1999 to 2003  where she completed a diploma in the Painting Department. In 2003 she left for studies at Goldsmiths College in London in the Centre for Cultural Studies. While at Goldsmiths, Oneika began to integrate her interests in combining the practice of Painting with New Media. Later post-grad studies at Kyoto Seika University in Japan furthered the interest in hand-craft and technological meeting points in service of explorations of history, culture and social narratives. Characters and stories formed the basis of much of her earlier work. Her current work increasingly involves more installation which uses sound, drawing video, prints, books and objects to reclaim and assemble fragmented experiences and thought together.


Oswald Jr. Dupigny (Trinidad & Tobago)

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About the work:

The work addresses the Education System. It confronts the system from a social perspective. It uses the ideology of social conflict theory to do so. The work seeks to challenge the systems mode of operation. The concept of the ideology sees society divided into two classes in which one class, the ruling class (bourgeoisie), exploits the other class, the working class (proletariat), hence conflict arises. The Education system is elitist and it favours a selected few over the vast majority and thus oppresses the vast majority. The premise of this oppression is that academic ability is favoured over the technical vocational. The intention of the work is to portray a class struggle within the Education system.

An installation of a classroom is depicting this narration of a class struggle. The classroom portrays the struggle of the working class in the system. It is widely recognized that conformity is an important aspect of the system. It portrays the Education system with a uniform of its own. Everyone has to learn and be taught in one structure. It’s a dictatorship within the classroom.

My work centers on social issues. In my work, my main intention is to resolve these issues. As much my art advocates for confrontation, its purpose is for this issue to be resolved. An eventual intention of this work is that the maintained social order through the Education system be challenged through the ideology of social conflict theory. The purpose of my work is to incite social change.

About the artist:

Oswald Jr. Dupigny is a twenty four year old Artist from Trinidad and Tobago. He has acquired a Certificate in Visual Arts in 2013. In October, he will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from the University of the West Indies. He  specializes in Fine Arts and he has competent skills in Design. His work focuses on social issues. Currently, he is working on issues that affect the education system in Trinidad and Tobago. This topic was used for his thesis, “A Parental Perspective of the Education System and the S.E.A. exam by Parents whose children are about to write the S.E.A. exam.” Also, his work was shown along with his colleagues at the National Museum Art Gallery exhibition during his final year based upon this topic.  He is intrigued by conceptual art and the influence it can have. He believes that his work can bring social change.


Roy Hedwig Ritfeld (Suriname)

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About the work:

In May I participated in a volunteer program called turtle watch. One of the  goals was to transport sea-turtle nests from below the high tide line to higher grounds so the eggs have a chance to hatch. Two reason why the eggs were laid there was because  the turtles could not reach the higher grounds because of the tree-trunks blocking their way and the twiners on the ground don’t make it any easier.

In the presentation I used the picture of a Park Ranger putting the eggs in their new location, wondering with a gaze miles away how big  the return will be. As the problems of the trunks only appears in the Guyanas due to the stationary North-East wind, I used the western border of my country Suriname. The red color taken from our national flag indicates the endangerment of the species . This is also to emphasize that  the south western triangle is disputed by Guyana and Suriname as an old colonial misunderstanding. The hatchling in the lower right corner is going north to the yellow flower, the star of hope in the flag of Suriname that wants to be more integrated in the Caribbean Community.

About the artist:

Roy Hedwig Ritfeld was born February 25, 1950 in Paramaribo, Suriname. He got his first camera in 1966. He studied Mechanical Engineering in the Netherlands from1967-1972, and then trained in theatre in Suriname from 1973-1976. From 1981-1984, Roy attended the Photography Academy in Paramaribo, where he participated in a show in 1983. In 1993, after working on some TV programs and Surinamese music video clips, he undertook training in videography between Belgium and the Netherlands. He went on to participate in the National Art Fair in Paramaribo between the years of 1998-2011.

Roy took part in CARIFESTA in 2006, hosted in Trinidad & Tobago, and Fiesta del fuego in Cuba in 2014. In 2010, he produced the photojournal series: pictures tell the actual news.


Spurgeonique Morley (The Bahamas)

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About the work:

Initially when I began Reach, it was just to figure out how I could create an aesthetically fun, excitement-filled, unified wholeness. The figure used showed a calm, yet strong expression, which I wanted to explore with a bold, fairly aggressive background. The more layers and components I added and took away from the image, the more the narrative of the piece began to shift. I enjoy using the female figure in my work, mainly in my sculptures and mainly voluptuous, so I incorporated that as the focal point of Reach. From the figure, all other components seen in the piece were methodically, to some extent randomly placed into the image. The threshold effect on the figure was incorporated, because it added to the excitement and aesthetics of the figure, and it also gave off a comic book feel.

Reach speaks to me mainly on an energetic level. I enjoy being able to “feel” artists’ works, and I find that there are a variety of emotions, curiosities, mystery and excitement that I experience when looking at Reach. She is strong, and at peace. She is calm and serene. She is confident, she has pride and she shows acceptance in herself, which are all things that I’ve seen and been taught growing up as a little girl from my parents and family. A sense of magical energy, along with power and strength; these are what I hope viewers feel when they look at Reach.

About the artist:

Spurgeonique Morley was born on the island of New Providence on April 30, 1991. She attended and graduated (in 2008) from Heritage Christian Academy high school, where she left with the title of Valedictorian. She currently lives in Nassau, Bahamas and is a recent graduate from The University of The Bahamas, with a Bachelor of Education Secondary Certification Art degree. She has had a passion for Art from a very young age and has succeeded in becoming an Art Educator. She became immensely interested in Ceramics during her first course in the medium that she took at the University. Her journey to become a widely known Ceramist is still ongoing, and she wishes to further her education by attending the Rhode Island School of Design to attain her MFA in Ceramics. She enjoys experimenting with India ink, tactile collage work and most recently digital collages. Her enrollment into the University of The Bahamas has awarded her such great opportunities and exposure into the Art world, and this was where the foundation of her interest in Art as a career began. Her first national art experience where she participated as a Ceramic artist was Transforming Spaces 2015, which is a two-day art bus tour that showcases contemporary Bahamian visual art. In her spare time she loves to read, write, watch anime, listen to music and of course, work on expanding her Art.


Wenmimareba Klobah Collins (Puerto Rico)

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About the work:

In the current moment of economic crisis in Puerto Rico, we are living in a climate of worry, joblessness, lack of resources and pressure. In this digital drawing, I depict a woman sitting down on a street corner in a moment of rest and respite, taking unhurried joy in eating a mango. In the sun glow and surrounded by the bright architecture of the old city, she claims a few minutes for herself.

For an artist, Old San Juan presents the opportunity to focus on Caribbean history through sketching its fortresses, monuments, hanging lanterns, colorful row buildings with ornate balconies, and the narrow blue-brick cobbled streets. I suggest in the background of this work, that large-scale urban Caribbean setting. Viejo San Juan also a space where a lot of employees work in low-paying jobs in restaurants, hotels, boutiques and galleries to entertain tourists.

However, I am interested in paying tribute to the daily experiences of Puerto Rican women who currently live, work and walk in this city space. In my digital work, I wanted to create the feeling of a woman taking time in her day to have a simple, pleasurable private moment in an open public space.

For her clothing, I was inspired by a few groups of women in Villa Palmares, Santurce, and Loíza, who have, within the last year, been organizing get-togethers to sell headscarves, practice tying them in attractive styles, and modeling their efforts. These self-help collaborative economic and cultural sessions where women sell other crafts and dance bomba, as well, bring women together to supplement their income, celebrate fashion artistry and women’s textile arts, and express pride in Afroboricua beauty. The woman in my portrait is alone, but I see her as someone who takes strength and inspiration from these types of activities, as I do.

In my own way, I am resisting to give-in to the oppressive atmosphere of the situation in my island by choosing to see and draw fortitude, joy, resilience, and splendor in ordinary endeavors, relaxation and sustenance.

About the artist:

Wenmimareba Klobah Collins is an undergraduate student with a double-major in Fine Arts-Drawing and English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, in San Juan. She has completed coursework in various mediums at the Art League and the School of Plastic Arts in San Juan. She has also participated in a summer writing workshop at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida and the Alpha Writing Workshop in speculative fiction, science fiction and horror at U Penn-Greensburg. Her short stories have been published in the online journals Caminos Convergentes and Tonguas, as well as in Akashic Press’ online series “Duppy Thursdays.”

Digital copies of RA: Representing Artists now housed on the Fresh Milk website

The quarterly Barbadian and Caribbean arts newsletter RA (Representing Artists) was produced in the early nineties, spearheaded by a group of Barbados-based artists who saw the need to create a forum for more critical writing around contemporary arts in the region.

As part of her Tilting Axis Fellowship that has seen her travel to arts spaces throughout the Caribbean, Jamaican writer and curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson has digitized all six editions of this newsletter to make them available for public access on the Fresh Milk website. This inaugural curatorial fellowship is supported by the British Council.

With so many ongoing conversations about the development and future of Caribbean art today, it is important to know the history of spaces and what has laid the foundations for these discussions. Over the last 24 years, how have things changed? What has remained the same? We hope that these texts can be a source of inspiration, evaluation and critique, both for the state of the creative environment then and for encouraging productive discourse moving forward.

Edited by: Annalee Davis
Designed by: Arthur Atkinson (Issues 1-4) and Kristine Dear (Issues 5 & 6)

Contributors: Annalee Davis, Allison Thompson, Ras Akyem, Ras Ishi, Christopher Cozier, Nick Whittle, Alison Greaves, Roger Lipsey, Ken Corsbie, Dominique Brebion, Stan Kuiperi, Marianne de Tolentino, Dennis Tourbin, Petrona Morrison, Gayle Hermick, Geoffrey MacLean, Elizabeth Barnum and Sharen Carmichael

Click here to access the full issues on our Projects Page.