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.

FRESH MILK XXI

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to invite you to FRESH MILK XXI, taking place on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 from 6:00pm – 8:30pm at Fresh Milk, Walkers Dairy, St. George. This event will feature our two international resident artists for the month of June, US-based interdisciplinary artist Nyugen Smith and Bahamian writer Letitia Pratt.

During his residency at Fresh Milk, Nyugen has been spending time with people who live and work in Barbados, walking the streets of Bridgetown and performing investigative actions on the grounds of Fresh Milk which include video and photo-based projects. Nyugen will engage visitors with a new performance which considers his research on sites charged with memory, synthesizing his experience and findings with his interests in African cosmology.

After this performance, Letitia will give a reading of some of her previous work and the new pieces which have developed during this residency. Letitia’s research and poems in Barbados have been investigating and questioning the ways in which misogyny manifests in the Bahamas and throughout Caribbean, exploring commonalities and differences through Caribbean history and folklore with emphasis on the tale of the ‘Hag Woman’.

The evening will close with an artist talk and Q&A session with Nyugen about both his work in Barbados and his wider practice.

This event is free and open to the public. For directions to Fresh Milk, visit the ‘About Page‘ of our website.

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About Nyugen Smith:

Nyugen Smith (Photo credit: Janice Marin)

Drawing heavily on his West Indian heritage, Nyugen Smith is committed to raising the consciousness of past and present political struggles through his practice which consists of sculpture, installation, video and performance. He is influenced by the conflation of African cultural practices and the residue of European colonial rule in the region. Responding to the legacy of this particular environment, Nyugen’s work considers imperialist practices of oppression, violence and ideological misnomers. While exposing audiences to concealed narratives that distort reality, he destabilizes constructed frameworks from which this conversation is often held.

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 About Letitia Pratt:

Letitia Pratt

Letitia Pratt recently obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the College of the Bahamas. An avid reader of fantastic fiction, most of her writing navigates the existence of black (feminine) bodies within that genre and draws heavily on stories within Bahamian folklore. Her themes often explore the function of art and literature within the Bahamas, and her most recent published work, ‘A Scene (of Two Lovers Contemplating Suicide)‘ discusses the concept of liminality within artwork, and how it’s the ability to occupy multiple spaces creates an active exchange of ideologies.

FRESH MILK XX featured in the Nation Newspaper

Journalist Carol Williams shared a review of our recent public event FRESH MILK XX on page 18 of the Thursday, May 11th 2017 edition of the Nation Newspaper. She focused on the artwork of Barbadian artist Kraig Yearwood, whose work was on display in the studio. FRESH MILK XX also featured a presentation by international curator Pamela Lee and a reading by US-based poet drea brown.

Click here to read the full article!

FRESH MILK XX

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to invite you to FRESH MILK XX, taking place on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 from 7-9 pm at Fresh Milk, Walkers Dairy, St. George.

This event will feature a showcase of recent work by Barbadian artist Kraig Yearwood, the 2017 Fresh Milk ‘My Time’ Resident Artist, who was on the platform during the month of March.

Responding to Kraig’s work will be Pamela Lee, an international curator and gallery manager who has worked at the Dominik Mersch Gallery in Sydney, Australia, who will also make a presentation about the connections and potential for collaborations between the areas of art and science.

Finally drea brown, a US-based poet and Fresh Milk’s current resident artist in partnership with the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, will speak about her residency, the context behind her work, and close the evening with a poetry reading.

This event is free and open to the public.

Directions to Fresh Milk can be found on the ‘About Page’ of our website here.

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About Kraig:

Kraig Yearwood is a Barbadian artist and designer. Yearwood studied graphic design at Barbados Community College. He has worked as a freelance graphic designer, and has also worked as lead designer for his self-owned clothing label where he has showcased at some of the region’s biggest fashion weeks. He mainly uses mixed media in his visual art practice and to date he has exhibited in numerous local and international group shows, as well as having 5 solo exhibitions.

Yearwood says his approach to his work is partially intuitive while often informed by minimalist sensibilities, and lists eclectic influences such as introspection, relationships, nature and local and global current affairs for much of his production. Many compositions certainly feature a sense of structure and order that we often associate with graphic design, yet these elements are often broken and interrupted by marks that suggest another layer of idiosyncratic reasoning.

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About Pamela:

Pamela Lee is a skilled arts industry and communications manager with over 5 years of experience working in high profile arts organisations, the not-for-profit sector and corporate companies in Europe and Australia. She has a Master’s of Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University London in partnership with the Design Museum, London, where she also worked as a curatorial and digital media development assistant. Most recently, Pamela has worked as the gallery manager for the Dominik Mersch Gallery, one of Sydney’s leading international, commercial galleries.

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About drea:

Originally from St.Louis, drea brown recently completed her PhD in African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. Her work has appeared in a variety of literary journals most recently Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander and Southern Indiana Review. drea is also the winner of the 2014 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook competition judged by Douglas Kearney. Her chapbook dear girl: a reckoning was released in 2015.

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drea’s residency is supported by the
John L. Warfield Center for
African & African American Studies