A True & Exact History – An Exhibition & Poetry Installation by Sonia Farmer

Fresh Milk is excited for our next public event, an exhibition & panel discussion on A True & Exact History – an erasure poem by Bahamian writer & artist Sonia Farmer, using Richard Ligon’s publication “A True & Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes” (1657) as its source material.

The opening night & artist talk will be held at 6:30 PM, Monday April 30, 2018 at Fresh Milk, Walkers Dairy, St. George, Barbados,  and the exhibition will also be open for viewing on
Tuesday May 1, 2018 between 10 AM – 2 PM.

Sonia will be in conversation about her work with Ayesha Gibson-Gill, Cultural Officer for Literary Arts at the National Cultural Foundation, and Tara Inniss, Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

This event is free and open to the public. Directions to Fresh Milk can be found on the About Page of our website here.

RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

Artist Statement for A True & Exact History

I consider my writing practice a tool for disrupting and investigating existing narratives, forming a response that is not necessarily preoccupied with making new narratives to replace them, but rather exposing different narratives as a parallel, ultimately calling into question the inherent power structure in the existing narrative (such as historical accounts, folktales, mythologies, canonical books, etc). Experimental process of generation, such as erasure, found text, mistranslation, technological intervention, or other restrictive methods, are especially exciting opportunities to create direct responses to existing narratives by using its own language against itself. The resulting text then becomes the content for my final projects.

The core of my artist book A True & Exact History is an erasure of one of the most formative descriptions of the English Caribbean in the seventeenth Century, Richard Ligon’s 1657 guidebook, “A True and Exact History of Barbadoes.” This project began during March 2016 at a writing residency at Fresh Milk, an art platform in St. George, Barbados, where I encountered Ligon’s book through their Colleen Lewis Reading Room. Using the language, imagery, and thematic drives at the core of this text to disrupt the teleology of colonial Caribbean history, these unbound poetic fragments scattered among a shifting landscape simultaneously re-create and resist narrative as a device of cohesive history, ultimately calling into question what it means to write “a true and exact history” of anything.

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About Sonia Farmer:

Sonia Farmer is a writer, visual artist, and small press publisher who uses letterpress printing, bookbinding, hand-papermaking, and digital projects to build narratives about the Caribbean space. She is the founder of Poinciana Paper Press, a small and independent press located in Nassau, The Bahamas, which produces handmade and limited edition chapbooks of Caribbean literature and promotes the crafts of book arts through workshops and creative collaborations. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout Nassau including at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. She is the author of “Infidelities” (Poinciana Paper Press, 2017) which was longlisted for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. She has also self-published several chapbooks. Her poetry has won the 2011 Prize in the Small Axe Literary Competition and has appeared in various journals. She holds a BFA in Writing from Pratt Institute and is currently pursuing her MFA studies in Book Arts at the University of Iowa. 

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About Ayesha Gibson-Gill:

Ayesha Gibson-Gill M.A Arts Management (Greenwich), B.A Theatre Studies (Acadia) is a writer, director, actor, drama tutor, arts administrator, producer, former radio announcer, sometime vocalist and always mother.   In 2017 she conceptualized and artistically produced a signal CARIFESTA XIII event, Word for Word- Night of the Literary Masters, along with other literary engagements. She has been the Cultural Officer for Literary Arts at the National Cultural Foundation Barbados since 2012.

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About Tara Inniss:

Tara Inniss is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy at Cave Hill Campus, The University of the West Indies (UWI). Her focus areas include: history of medicine; history of social policy; and heritage and social development. In 2002-03, she received a Split-Site Commonwealth PhD Scholarship to study at the UWI/University of Manchester. In 2007, she completed a Masters in International Social Development at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Dr. Inniss has served as a delegate for the Government of Barbados on the World Heritage Committee, and was a member of the Research Team which assembled the Nomination Dossier for UNESCO World Heritage Property Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison. She currently sits on several committees for the Barbados World Heritage Committee, Barbados Museum and Historical Society and is Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of Caribbean Historians (ACH).

Transoceanic Visual Exchange 2017

Fresh Milk is thrilled to announce that the Caribbean screenings for Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE) 2017 will take place in Barbados on select dates between November 3rd – 13th at the Fresh Milk studio and in the Morningside Gallery at Barbados Community College (BCC). Additionally, the online exhibition of works will be available for viewing from November 20th – December 20th. Read more about the project and see the full screening schedule below!

Fresh Milk, in partnership with Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Barbados Community College, is pleased to present the schedule for the 2017 edition of Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE), a series of programmes taking place this year between Barbados and Australia.

TVE is a collection of recent films and videos from artists practicing in the Caribbean, Oceania and their diasporas. TVE aims to negotiate the in-between space of our cultural communities outside of traditional geo-political zones of encounter and trade, intending to build relations and open up greater pathways of visibility, discourse and knowledge production between the regional art spaces and their communities.

The Caribbean screenings will take place in Barbados on select dates between November 3rd – 13th at the Fresh Milk studio, Walkers Dairy, St. George and in the Morningside Gallery at Barbados Community College (BCC), Howells Road, St. Michael, while the screenings in Australia will take place at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street, Footscray
Victoria on November 18th from 10am – 5pm (see more about this event here).

Additionally, the online exhibition of works will be available for viewing from November 20th – December 20th.

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Barbados Screening schedules & Participating Artists:

Video Installations

Barbados Community College
Friday Nov. 3rd (10am – 6pm), Saturday Nov. 4th (10am – 3pm) & Monday Nov. 6th (10am – 6pm)

Mohini Chandra (Fiji) – Kikau Street
rc campos (Brazil) – Entangled Landing Points

Friday Nov. 10th (10am – 6pm), Saturday Nov. 11th (10am – 3pm) & Monday Nov. 13th (10am – 6pm)

David Gumbs (St. Martin/Martinique) – Blossoms
Lisa Hilli (Papua New Guinea) – Material Histories 1

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Narrative / Documentary Screenings

The Fresh Milk Art Platform
Sunday Nov. 5th (5pm – 8pm)

Alanna Lockward (Dominican Republic) – ALLEN REPORT: Retracing Transnational African Methodism
Craig Santos Perez (Guam/Hawaii) – Praise Song for Oceania
Alberta Whittle (Barbados) – Recipe for Planters Punch

Sunday Nov. 12th (5pm – 8pm)

Katia Café-Fébrissy (Guadeloupe/Toronto) – ROOT UP/À LA RACINE
Juliette McCawley (Trinidad & Tobago) – One Good Deed
Danielle Rusell (Jamaica) – The Bakers of Oriental Gardens
Lisa Taouma (Samoa) – Adorn

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Experimental Video Art Screenings

The Fresh Milk Art Platform
Wednesday Nov. 8th & Thursday Nov. 9 (6pm – 9pm)

Featuring work by:

Louisa Afoa (Samoa), Black Birds (Fiji/Tokealu/Grenada/Maori), Di-Andre Caprice Davis (Jamaica), Lionel Cruet (Puerto Rico), Tricia Diaz (Trinidad & Tobago), Deborah Jack (St. Maarten/USA), Shivanjani Lal (Fiji), Natalia Mann (Samoan/European), Jodi Minnis (The Bahamas), Sofia Gallisá Muriente (Puerto Rico), Adam Patterson (Barbados/UK), Oneika Russell (Jamaica), Shanice Smith (Trinidad & Tobago), Talia Smith (Samoan/Cook Islands/New Zealand), Luis Vasquez La Roche (Venezuela/Trinidad & Tobago) and Joanna Helfer (Scotland), Sandra Vivas (Venezuela/Dominica), Rodell Warner (Trinidad & Tobago), Nick Whittle (Barbados/UK) and Anisah Wood (Barbados)

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Fresh Milk presents ‘Resonance’

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to present Resonance, a showcase of works by some of the artists who have participated in residencies or projects with the organization over the last six years. Resonance opens on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 from 2-4pm with a presentation about Fresh Milk’s programming and a chance to speak with some of the exhibiting artists, and will also be open to the public on August 21st – 23rd and 28th – 31st from 10am – 4pm each day. Come and see what Fresh Milk has on display during the regional celebrations of CARIFESTA XIII, and commemorate our 6th anniversary with us!

About Resonance:

res·o·nance
noun

1.
the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.

2.
the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.

When Fresh Milk began in August 2011, it was an experiment based on the hypothesis that there was a need for spaces in Barbados where contemporary artists, writers, thinkers and makers could come to conduct their own creative investigations. Six years later, the experiment continues to grow organically locally and throughout the Caribbean, constantly being fed by the artists that we engage with.

Resonance plays on the phonetically similar word ‘residence’, taking this opportunity to celebrate our local artist in residence programme among other innovative projects, as well as regional residency initiatives. There is also synergy with the definition of the word; each of the creatives that have been involved with Fresh Milk have enriched the platform, their presence and contribution continuing to impact every new endeavor we undertake and reinforcing our desire to foster prolonged relationships with artists. This showcase is less about following a theme, and more about recognizing the dynamic trajectories of the participants’ varying practices.

It’s our pleasure to feature works by Barbadian artists Simone Asia, Evan Avery, Cherise Harris, Versia Harris, Raquel Marshall, Ronald Williams, Anisah Wood and Kraig Yearwood. Additionally, we are excited that this show coincides with CARIFESTA XIII in Barbados, and are pleased to be able to include works by regional artists Dominique Hunter (Guyana), Leasho Johnson (Jamaica), Oneika Russell (Jamaica) and Shanice Smith (Trinidad) – each of whom have also been part of the Caribbean Linked residency programme coordinated by Ateliers ’89 in Aruba, Fresh Milk and ARC Magazine. We look forward to maintaining our connections with each of these artists, the many others that we have worked with in the past, and those still to come in the future.

Directions to the Fresh Milk studio can be found on the About Page of our website, and for more information email freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com.

drea brown’s Residency – Final Blog Post

US-based poet drea brown shares her final blog post about her Fresh Milk residency, which took place from April 19 – May 10, 2017 as part of a new partnership between  Fresh Milk  and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. Although there is a kind of finality in her writing this closing blog, it also comes with the knowledge that her time in Barbados was the start of something special; what she learned and the bonds she formed are sure to bring her back to the island in the future. Read more below:

I’ll begin with a confession. I think it has taken so long to write this final blog because in doing so, I have to admit the world I’ve returned to, full of its own responsibilities, is not a longwinded dream that I will wake from rocking in a chair on porch surrounded by blues and beauty, and the occasional mooing cow.

My last week of Fresh Milk was filled with serenity and laughter, with art and bold amazing voices. I found myself waking with pieces of poems in my mouth that stumbled onto scraps of napkins while coffee brewed. I rambled to Fresh Milk artists/team about all of these imaginings, all of these stories that kept unraveling. I shed layers and layers of fear, and leaned into the encouragement, and openness of those I’d come to cherish and respect.

A few days before leaving Barbados, I went to the Barbados Community College BFA portfolio art show, a major event in town, and walked around with my mouth gaped in a amazement from the intense beauty on those walls, the dismantling of taboo and stereotype, inquiries of identity, music, color, masculinities, sisterhood.  That night, those walls, the sounds, the film shorts, still buzz in my head. I am eagerly anticipating what comes next for the bold emerging artists.

My last evening with Fresh Milk was also the night of artist talks and a gallery walk. Kraig Yearwood’s creations and residency experiments lined the walls and posed in corners. And, I was so inspired by the way he let go, and let his art decide the journey. There was such truth in that, surrendering to the will of the work. I was learning something similar, how to listen, how to see, and let my hands move as they desired. I read from new poems that night, and there were moments where I found myself surprised by the words I’d written, but they needed to be shared. And there is more to come.

I write this knowing I will be back. It feels impossible not to return. There’s more to be done.

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This residency is supported by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies

Kraig Yearwood’s Residency – Final Blog Post

Barbadian artist Kraig Yearwood shares his final blog post about his Fresh Milk ‘My Time’ Local Residency 2017, which took place during March this year. Kraig gives an overview of the residency and final thoughts on the experience, including the workshop he held with Class 3 students at Workmans Primary School, and his participation in our public event FRESH MILK XX, which took place on May 9, 2017. Read more below:

A view of the Colleen Lewis Reading Room as well as a few of my reading materials

The Lost Blog

Okay, the title is a bit of a misnomer – I guess it’d be more accurate to say that life got in the way of writing this final blog post.

Once again, I can’t believe how time flies. As I cast my mind back to when I started the My Time Residency, it’s strange to imagine that my 1st week at Fresh Milk seemed to drag on endlessly and I was in a constant battle with myself about not doing enough. This was despite my using this week to work on possible directions as well as researching some of the materials I was hoping to work with.

A few of the experimental pieces which were made during the 2nd week of my residency

I’ve stated previously, on commencement of my residency, that I had no solid ideas other than I’d known I’d wished to play with materials I’d never used before and also wanted to explore the use of collected trash items. As I got deeper into my stay, I started to focus on exploring themes of materialism, mass production, excess and what we leave behind.

Knowing that I still had to develop ideas for the social outreach component of the residency, I decided to create an environmental awareness programme which would be geared towards primary school students. The aim of this workshop was to educate the children on the importance of proper waste disposal, drawing attention to local and global environmental issues, community activism and the importance of teamwork in tackling such issues. Workmans Primary was selected mainly due to having a very limited arts programme as well as the existing relationship between the school and the residency platform. The workshop began with a with video presentation focusing on environmental awareness and recycling tips, and was followed by a question and answer segment. The children were then split into groups where they were invited to colour and collage bits of trash items on to a poster which was illustrated by myself, depicting an appropriate method of waste disposal as well as the consequences of litter. To conclude, the class was given a smaller version of the poster to take home, as well as a handout which included interesting facts on the environment and a small activities section.

The poster for the “This! Not This” campaign

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FRESH MILK XX Event

On Tuesday May 9th I wrapped up my time at Fresh Milk with a showing of the work made or conceptualised during this stint, as well as participating in a Q & A with international curator Pamela Lee. Pamela also delivered an eye opening presentation on the connections between the areas of Art and Science. This well attended event was brilliantly capped off by the then current resident, US-based poet drea brown, who spoke on her residency experiences which was followed by an engaging poetry reading.

Although this might be the 1st time that I’ve perhaps failed to complete a body of work, I do believe that the Fresh Milk platform has provided me with an invaluable experience. It has allowed me some much needed time to focus on making artwork, experiment and introduce new materials into my practice in a new and supportive environment.

Much thanks to Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy.