Fresh Milk & the NCF launch three Digital Public Artworks

The Fresh Milk Art Platform, with support from the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados, has launched three Digital Public Arts Projects featuring works by local artists! Congratulations to Joshua ClarkeMohita Shenoy and Chris Welch, whose artworks are now exhibited on the Fresh Milk ArtBoard, a mural at St. George’s Primary School and a Fresh Stops Bus Shelter respectively!

Now more than ever during the global limitations we are facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to think about how we as a society value the work of artists. Fresh Milk and the NCF seek to empower creatives and stimulate the creative economy in the island, especially during this very challenging moment, and are thrilled to have engaged with a range of artists at different stages of their careers and working across a variety of media including illustration, graphic design, photography and artificial intelligence to name a few.

Joshua Clarke on his piece:

“…The two works [I incorporated are] the Nelson’s History piece that tracks his personal story from young sailor to figure of heroism and horror in duality in the English Caribbean, and the Statue Fallen piece that draws on space opera & science fiction imagery to see the scar of Nelson’s idolatry rent asunder from the figure representing the island of Barbados. My hope [is that the piece] arrests the viewer as something simultaneously otherworldly but relentlessly Caribbean, pulling the dynamic color from the painting and the complex linework from the illustrative piece for a pop poster mashup that takes my two artistic directions and combines them in a way that can be communicated on a large scale.”

Mohita Shenoy on her piece:

“…Since lions are the mascots of [St. George Primary] school, I had the idea that the lions being portrayed are a sort of symbol, a spirit of the school that goes wherever the students go in life. The boy is shown to be reading (academics). The lion alongside him patiently allows him to lean against him, supporting him in his studies. The girl in the middle is playing soccer (sports), the lion cub at her side runs with her, again a symbol of moral support. The girl on the right is dancing (the arts). The lioness accompanying her winds around her, as if it wants to dance in support too.”

Chris Welch on his piece:

“…AI Chattel is a model that dreams of Bajan architecture, connecting the past, present and future of these unique structures. AI Chattel bridges the gaps between art, technology, culture and architecture. Machine Learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience … I used an image dataset of 2500 chattel house images from around the island to train a Style GAN 2 (Generative Adversarial Network) model. The objective of this project is to show an important and yet mostly forgotten characteristic about architecture; architecture is alive, lives among us and is capable of stimulating our senses.”

There is also a QR code embedded in Chris’ work on the bus shelter, and the public is invited to scan it to learn more and to see the video component of his AI Chattel series.

This project is made possible in part by the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados. Special thanks to Colour XL for the printing and installation of the mural and ArtBoard, and to Adopt A Stop for the construction of the bus shelter.

Announcing Selected Artists for Digital Public Arts Projects!

The Fresh Milk Art Platform, with support from the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados, shares the results of our open call for Barbadian visual artists whose works will be on display for three exciting public art projects. Congratulations to Joshua Clarke, Mohita Shenoy and Chris Welch, whose artworks will be exhibited on the Fresh Milk ArtBoard, a mural at St. George’s Primary School and a Fresh Stops Bus Shelter respectively!

Their works will be installed during the month of May, so stay tuned for updates, messages from the artists and images of the completed works!

Learn more about the artists and their proposed artworks below.


About Joshua Clarke:

Joshua Clarke is a graduate of the Barbados Community College with a BFA in Graphic Design. He has worked in game development as a character, environment and concept artist (Le Loupgarou), as sequential artist on graphic novels (Power in the Blood GreenBook Comics 2020) was a semifinalist in the Kingstoon Pitch Competition (Junkyard Dragon 2019) and is the winner of the first Black Celebration in the Future art contest (2020) and CATAPULT SHAR Awardee (2020). A childhood spent reading has given him a lifelong love of storytelling and an inability to put the pencil down has drawn him inexorably to his career in illustration and concept art. A student of culture and history he attempts to capture that same joy and wonder of the stories that inspire him while ensuring representation of the fullness of Blackness in his work. His work shows a particular focus on Afrofuturism and Afrofantasy as he seeks to claim space for diasporic Afro Caribbean identity in the stories that shape our collective imagination.

Excerpt from ArtBoard Proposal:

“…In my work I try to create visuals that strike people on an entertaining level, but nevertheless resonate deeper as they take the time to look closer. The two works I’d seek to incorporate would be the Nelson’s History piece that tracks his personal story from young sailor to figure of heroism and horror in duality in the English Caribbean, and the Statue Fallen piece that draws on space opera & science fiction imagery to see the scar of Nelson’s idolatry rent asunder from the figure representing the island of Barbados. My hope would be to have a piece that arrests the viewer as something simultaneously otherworldly but relentlessly Caribbean, pulling the dynamic color from the painting and the complex linework from the illustrative piece for a pop poster mashup that takes my two artistic directions and combines them in a way that can be communicated on such a large scale.”


About Mohita Shenoy:

My name is Mohita Shenoy, born and raised in Barbados. I’ve loved drawing for literally as
long as I can remember. This love is what drove me to study art up to CAPE level in
secondary school. However, my experience in digital art is almost entirely self-taught. I
ended up pursuing digital art since then, selling my artwork (as posters, t-shirts, keychains,
stickers) at AnimeKon Expo from 2016 – 2018, and then doing commission work as a
graphic designer from then onwards. In 2020, I decided to upgrade my skills by taking online
classes in Photoshop.

Excerpt from Mural Proposal:

“…St George Primary School takes pride in its students, whether it be in their feats on the athletics field or on the dance floor. Being a school, of course, academics play a role as well. Therefore, I chose these three fields to portray my idea.

In the first concept sketch, I drew three students, a boy, and two girls, alongside a lion, lion cub and lioness, respectively. Since lions are the mascots of the school, I had the idea that the lions being portrayed are a sort of symbol, a spirit of the school that goes wherever the students go in life. The boy is shown to be reading (academics). The lion alongside him patiently allows him to lean against him, supporting him in his studies. The girl in the middle is playing soccer (sports), the lion cub at her side runs with her, again a symbol of moral support. The girl on the right is dancing (the arts). The lioness accompanying her winds around her, as if it wants to dance in support too.”


About Chris Welch:

Chris Welch is a photographer and new media artist, his style is characterized by vibrant and energetic imagery. Working with code he creates generative art and interactive installations, which explore the intersection of art and technology, artificial intelligence and the aesthetic potential of computational systems.

His work has been shown at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA), LightboxNYC, Village Gallery at the Crane, Grove Gallery Limegrove and the Gallery of Caribbean Art. His clients and credits include US Soccer, Brian “de Action Man” Talma, Caribbean Development Bank, Sandals Barbados, Innovate Barbados and the National Transformation Initiative.

Excerpt from Bus Shelter Proposal:

“…AI Chattel is a model that dreams of Bajan architecture, connecting the past, present and future of these unique structures. AI Chattel bridges the gaps between art, technology, culture and architecture. Machine Learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience. It is seen as a subset of artificial intelligence. ML algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as “training data”, in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to do so.

I used an image dataset of 2500 chattel house images from around the island to train a Style GAN 2 (Generative Adversarial Network) model. The objective of this project is to show an important and yet mostly forgotten characteristic about architecture; architecture is alive, lives among us and is capable of stimulating our senses.”


This project is made possible in part by the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados

Open Call: Digital Public Art Projects

The Fresh Milk Art Platform, with support from the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados, shares an open call for Barbadian visual artists to submit digital pieces* for consideration for three exciting public art projects:

(i) the Fresh Milk ArtBoard;
(ii) a Fresh Stops bus stop bench and shelter at St. George’s Primary school and;
(iii) a mural at St. George’s Primary school.

One artist will be selected for each project, and each successful applicant will receive a fee of $1,100.00 BBD!

For the purposes of this call, “digital” work can also include drawing, painting and other two dimensional media, once the artworks can be photographed or scanned at a high enough resolution to be printed at good quality at the sizes outlined for each project.

Submissions for all three projects will be reviewed by the Fresh Milk Team and an independent jury member. The application requirements are as follows:

 

(i) The Fresh Milk ArtBoard

  • Artists must be Barbadian and Barbados-based;
  • 2-3 concept sketches/work samples must be sent as digital files (JPG, PNG, PDF, TIF or PSD);
  • The concept sketches/work samples and a Word document/PDF containing a statement about the proposed work (no more than 350 words), a bio (no more than 250 words) and contact information (full name, preferred artist name, phone number, WhatsApp contact, address, social media handles and website if applicable) should be sent to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This can also be done via WeTransfer;
  • If chosen, the final digital artwork must be very high resolution, and able to be printed clearly at the size 90” w x 90” h.

(ii) A Fresh Stops Bus Shelter

  • Artists must be Barbadian and Barbados-based;
  • 2-3 concept sketches/work samples for three pieces of work (one for the back of the bench and the other 2 for the two sides of shelter’s side panel) must be sent as digital files (JPG, PNG, PDF, TIF or PSD);
  • The concept sketches/work samples and a Word document/PDF containing a statement about the proposed work (no more than 350 words), a bio (no more than 250 words) and contact information (full name, preferred artist name, phone number, WhatsApp contact, address, social media handles and website if applicable) should be sent to
  • freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This can also be done via WeTransfer;
  • If chosen, the final digital artworks must be very high resolution, and able to be printed clearly at 82” w x 24” h (back of bench) and 24” w x 48” h (shelter side panel). Wherever possible, supply the original Illustrator or Photoshop file. Please view the dimensions guide for the shelter here for clarity.

(iii) Digital Mural at St. George Primary School

  • Artists must be Barbadian and Barbados-based;
  • 2-3 concept sketches/work samples must be sent as digital files (JPG, PNG, PDF, TIF or PSD);
  • The setting of the artwork at a public primary school should be considered in the design of the work. The St. George Primary School students referred to themselves as “lions”, reflecting their enviable position as national athletic champions as well as their excellence in Latin and ballroom dancing. Proposals reflecting the school’s continual striving for excellence will be welcomed;
  • The concept sketches/work samples and a Word document/PDF containing a statement about the proposed work (no more than 350 words), a bio (no more than 250 words) and contact information (full name, preferred artist name, phone number, WhatsApp contact, address, social media handles and website if applicable) should be sent to
  • freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This can also be done via WeTransfer;
  • If chosen, the final digital artwork must be very high resolution, and able to be printed clearly at the size 96” w x 30” h.

Selected artists will receive their $1,100.00 BBD fee in two instalments, a 40% deposit on selection and 60% on installation of the work. Once selected, all three artists will be asked to submit supporting images of their work and process, as well as a brief video message (no more than 90 seconds) which will be included in promotional material to be shared on the Fresh Milk and NCF website and social media platforms. 


Deadline for all submissions: April 16th, 2021

Successful applicants will be notified by April 26th, 2021, and the completed artwork must be submitted by May 15th, 2021 for printing and installation.


This project is made possible in part by the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados

Fresh Milk’s 2020 Highlights

Thank you for your continued support of Fresh Milk!

While it’s taken us a little while to share our reflections on the year 2020, we’re pleased to celebrate what we have been able to achieve in spite of the challenges that cultural workers everywhere have had to navigate.

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Still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has made our already precarious cultural sectors here in Barbados and across the wider Caribbean even more fragile. We have been challenged to find new ways to nurture one another, and Fresh Milk has participated in collaborations that have been beneficial to many artists in the region.

To learn more about the work we have done including CONTESTED DESIRES – an ongoing partnership with artist initiatives in the UK, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Italy; working with Le Centre d’Art in Haiti on a residency exchange programme; the most recent Tilting Axis Fellowship in partnership with Het Nieuwe Instituut in the Netherlands; or the pan-Caribbean CATAPULT project in partnership with The American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) and Kingston Creative, see more below!

For 2021, Fresh Milk remains committed to delivering virtual editions of the programmes Caribbean Linked and Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE). These online platforms will unite artists across linguistic territories in the region, as well as expand our work with colleagues in Latin America.

If you would like to support artists participating in Caribbean Linked and TVE, or would like to lend support to the management of these various projects, go ahead and click on the donate button below! It’s very easy to support us and the artists we work with by making a donation through this PayPal link. Your contributions make our programmes possible, and gifts of any size are welcome.

While our artist residency programme is on pause now that we have honoured all previous commitments, we look forward to sharing an open call for a local project with three exciting components, which will take place right here in Barbados, in the parish of St. George.

Stay tuned for more details!

  If you’d like to work with us to build your art collection by acquiring work by local and Caribbean artists, please get in touch.

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We would like to thank everyone who worked with us, supported us, and express gratitude to the many artists who we have had the privilege of working with across the Caribbean during this very demanding year.

We are pleased to be able to share our 2020 reflections with you all and hope you enjoy this newsletter.

 

Aliyah Hasinah’s Fresh Milk Residency – Week 3 Blog Post

UK-based writer and curator of Bajan and Jamaican heritage, Aliyah Hasinah, shares her third blog post about her Fresh Milk international residency. Aliyah continues to speak with Barbados-based cultural practitioners to form impressions about the island, its social landscape and stratification that exists in the space, in addition to visiting centres such as the Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary and the UWI Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. Read more below:


This week’s residency was a meaningful one. I’ve spent a lot of time in conversations learning and listening so haven’t read as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless, it’s been another enriching week in Barbados.

My Monday started with an Interview being recorded of me for the Small Axe Podcast. Upon finishing this interview, I asked if the new series by Steve McQueen was to be aired in the Caribbean because I couldn’t watch it on iPlayer. I was met with an ‘I’m not sure actually’.

From this moment, the thing that has sat with me starkly this past week is the disconnect between the islands and diaspora and the very intentional legislation and governing bodies that enforce this as a progression from enslavement and colourist class stratification. Additionally, the 2nd or 3rd generation diaspora’s disconnect from the politics or culture of the lands they hail from, in not creating content or sharing it outside of the global north, also creates problems.

For the large part the Windrush experience is not taught in the school curriculum of the Island and the modern day Bajan political and cultural is not felt or bridged abroad. This disconnect and information exclusion means that a very intentional chasm is created purely from the absence of information and exchange. Steve Mcqueen’s ‘Small Axe’ not being available in the Caribbean is one such example. It is easy to then imagine the resentment that can begin to develop towards those who have left and the rose-tinted nostalgia or misunderstanding of the Island’s they knew of the diaspora. This dialogue between contexts is crucial in the art world, to both enrich the nuanced perspectives of Caribbeanness and likewise shift the axis from representation mainly being from the diaspora or of the light skin and white artists on the Island.

In Aaron Kamugisha’s essay on ‘Rihanna & Bajan Respectability’ under the section on the Caribbean Middle Classes, he recalls James Baldwin’s insights:

James’s analysis of the new elites closes with the ominoir observation that “the ordinary people of the west indies…. Do not want to substitute new masters for old. They want no masters at all… history will take its course, only too often a bloody one.’’ Over thirty years into a global neo-liberal project that has seen appalling levels of martial impoverishment for citizens of the global South, and soaring rates of violence in these societies, James’s warning appears more prescient than he could have ever imagined.’’

The function of the middle class in Barbados (as one of the largest of the Caribbean islands) has an intentional implementation to absolve the white ruling class and also white capitalists who sought a quick buck from buying up much of the island to further exploit the newly independent nation (through hotels and tourism). This class is very much segregated, almost apartheid like, on the Island. My British accent and redskin has made some of those I’ve interacted with a little too comfortable in the false assumption of my middle classness and acceptance of the status quo. The disdain for Black Bajan artists is abhorrent and I have to thank my elders Ras Ishi and Ras Akyem for their work and writing in the RA Journal in 1993 and how it still stands prophetic of what I have witnessed on the land my grandparents left almost 60 years ago.

I’m learning that there is a perception that Fresh Milk is elitist and inaccessible for most on the Island. Which I was unaware of prior to my residency. It got me thinking about the international intrigue of how blackness, where I grew up in Birmingham UK, was always more acceptable in gallery contexts when the black artist wasn’t from that place. Hence meaning white curators and institutions needn’t think about their complicity in upholding racist gatekeeping, because they’d distanced themselves from it but still represented blackness in an international context.

My plan when I came to do my residency was to focus solely on Black West Indian Art History and culture in the Caribbean. However, I have been confronted quite violently with the colonial history and enslavement period’s remnants in legislation and artist communities that have led to the unsustainable arts infrastructure on the Island. As a result I have delved deeper into this in order to understand the conditions and context the art I’m studying was moulded by. I hope to focus more on dreaming and making work in the last week of my residency, but believe my whole time here has been an immersive learning of Caribbean epistemology as well as embodied experiences – all of which will embolden my curatorial practice and projects.

This week I also met with Russell Watson at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, to look at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination. It’s an exciting space that I’m sure will continue to do some incredible work in supporting the critical discourse within the art scene of Barbados. We also spoke about the responsibility and place of healing in the development of artists’ careers here in Barbados. This video of George Lamming for the NCF is an apt example of the arts’ importance in Barbados’ future and present.

I also had the honour of going to Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary with Pascale, Dr Yanique Hume and my friend Amyra.

I was very moved by Ireka Jelani and her weaving practice and how she built her farm and sanctuary piece by piece. The love she showed us was testament of her power and I wrote something short after the visit.

SISTER IREKA

She stared through me with a soft urgency
Commanding of me a spirit I had quietened.
The asking in her eyes said –
let it out
Let us free up
Say what needs must sweetgirl

‘This whole Island was once plantation’

Remember you are of the land as much as of mind,
Tend to both.

Her Cassava fingertips have mended broken backs they say.
How we soothe wholesome spirit
With time
With air
In rain
With bush
With needs must
With love
‘Cuh me ah sey we is a humble people’

We forged in this limestone,
a life led by our spirits’ soft urgency.

Have a great week and thanks for reading my tangential thoughts.

Aliyah x