Announcing Selected Artists from the First Fresh Milk/Healing Arts Initiative Open Call!

The Fresh Milk Art PlatformFuture Centre TrustEnviron Ltd (Adopt A Stop Barbados) and The Healing Arts Initiative in partnership with CULTURUNNERS as part of the World Health Organization are pleased to announce the Barbadian artists, selected by jury members across each participating entity, who will design new works to be incorporated into one rain shelter and two benches for installation on the Barbados Trailway Project.

Anna Gibson will provide artwork for the rain shelter, while Dion Gibson and Anya Greaves will provide artwork for the benches. Their works will be installed in May/June of this year. Congratulations to the artists, and stay tuned to see their completed pieces!

Learn more about the artists and see previews of their proposed artworks below.


About Anna Gibson:

I’m a Barbadian contemporary artist who explores multiple mediums, crafting images of body manipulation through realism and expressionism. I have been practicing for over 5 years completing my Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts (2017). I have been able to participate in some local (Barbados) group exhibitions at The Punch Creative Arena, UN women ‘1in3 Art Exhibition’ at the UN House Barbados, ‘Young Artist’ at The Barbados Arts Council Art Gallery and more.

My artwork is routed in exploring women’s’ bodies and their relationship between our cultural, racial, and social environment. Focusing on insecurities, my artwork explores and exposes the vulnerabilities women have about their differences to each other, and how they seek to mentally and physically mask or morph their bodies, in an obsessive process of evolving, using various beautification methods to achieve acceptance.

Excerpt from her proposal for the rain shelter:

In response to this project’s agenda of valuing our natural environment and taking mental comfort in its properties, I decided to depict an interactive space between us and nature. Due to the pandemic, we have been restricted and confined in various ways, especially with the constant presence of the mask, which feels like it has become a big indicator of the surreal timeline we are living right now. Using the mask as an analogy of inhaling and exhaling, I focused on creating imagery with movement and lightness to ease the mental suffocation that the mask represents.


About Dion Gibson:

Dion Gibson is a Barbados born visual artist and graphic designer. He began his artistic venture in 1990, using a range of media from watercolours and pastels to acrylics, and since acquiring a Bachelors in Graphic Design, has begun a new journey into Digital Art rendering. Digital media exploration has gradually begun to affect & challenge his fine-art practice.

Acknowledged as having a way of capturing ‘the dramatic’ especially in his use of composition, Dion delights in the Surreal and is passionate about bringing dreams and visions to life. His concepts can be unconventional at times, carrying a futuristic value and a satisfying attention to detail. He will often times request a black canvas to get his work started.

Some of the artists that inspire him are Kervin Andre, Stanley Greaves, Timothy Parker and Salvador Dali.

Dion believes that art is a medium that has the capacity to challenge how we see the world and invariably affect how we relate , how we engage and how we live. Part of the role of art is to help others see what is possible. He is looking forward to widening his scope in the area of ‘Art as Activism.

Excerpt from his proposal for the bench:

[This artwork] tries to offer  solutions to Mental Health issues while taking a look at the effects of Covid, La Soufriere Volcano and Hurricane Elsa. It tries to communicate the unique emotions of each natural activity by drawing the connections towards men in society. In so doing, it draws the line between poorly managed or unresolved emotions in men, mental health and suicide … The tears seen on each man’s cheek are important, because society generally does not allow men to cCry” which results in unhealthy pent up of emotions. Here we are letting men know that “it is okay to cry” (…allow your tears to be washed away by the sea.) 


About Anya Greaves:

Anya is a 19-year old Barbadian visual artist, expressionist and hobbyist. Her eyes are the windows to her resplendent and complex imagination; her hands, her instruments. From the lively and colourful world around her, she draws her inspiration, and from it she emanates her vibrant and unique perspective.

Anya has an innate artistic gift, and from the moment she gripped a crayon, her creativity was
communicated through her strokes. With influence from her parents, she was exposed to and enamored with the sundry textures and mediums of arts and crafts. Throughout primary and secondary school, she had a drive to refine her skills and took to drawing, painting and mixed media. In secondary school, she formed a mentoring relationship with her art teacher; criticism and love. From it she attained a grade 1 at CXC Visual Arts.

She uses art as her gateway into another dimension and flourishes in the joy of creating whenever she can. Her focal point is in “Making your dreams reality.”

Excerpt from her proposal for the bench:

Recent events in world history, particularly on my small island of Barbados, have shaken us. Throughout my life, the thought of a pandemic has never dawned on me. Initially, the virus’s emergence in China seemed far away, and I never dreamed it might travel over the ocean to Barbadian shores …  We desire stability as we emerge from the mental coop that [the pandemic, La Souffriere volcano and Hurricane Elsa] forced us into, and the proposed concept seeks to demonstrate this. It depicts a contrast between the past: the historic train line, and the present: the Barbados Trail-Way project initiative in St. George Valley, Barbados’s south central area.


ABOUT THE Project PARTNERS:

CULTURUNNERS produces cross-cultural campaigns, exhibitions and journeys, promoting peace-building & sustainable development through art. Launching at MIT in 2014, CULTURUNNERS’ first project was a multi-year artists’ road-trip broadcasting between the United States and the Middle East. It has since grown to encompass large-scale cultural exchange and diplomacy projects, an artist-led media platform, artists’ spaces and partnerships with institutions around the world.


Fresh Milk is an artist-led, non-profit organisation founded in 2011 and based in Barbados. It is a platform which supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development, fostering a thriving art community.

Fresh Milk offers professional support to artists from the Caribbean and further afield and seeks to stimulate critical thinking in contemporary visual art. Its goal is to nurture artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for growth, excellence and success.


 

The Future Centre Trust is a non-governmental organisation focused on raising awareness of environmental impacts to Barbados and the planet with a vision to be “a catalyst for sustainable living today and tomorrow”.  It is the main executing entity for the Barbados Trailway Project – a paved bicycle and pedestrian path located primarily on right-of-way lands of the former Barbados Railway.

This network of multi-purpose walking, hiking, running and cycling trails will provide year round recreational access for both locals and visitors, considerably expanding much needed public green space on the island.


For the past 25 years, Adopt A Stop has provided regional and international companies with a unique opportunity to display their products and services on bus shelters and benches in Barbados. The concept for Adopt A Stop was created by Barbadian Barney Gibbs while studying at Cambridge University. The project was then introduced to the island in 1993 as a socially-conscious way to provide a much-needed amenity. The priority was tropical designs constructed with local materials, placed at prime locations to give maximum impact.

The traveling public has embraced the project. The medium provides popular seating and shade for users; while increasing traffic rates mean drivers and passengers are frequently stopped in front of sponsor’s signage.

Fresh Milk/Healing Arts Initiative: Call for Artworks #1

The Fresh Milk Art Platform, Future Centre Trust, Environ Ltd (Adopt A Stop Barbados) and The Healing Arts Initiative in partnership with CULTURUNNERS as part of the World Health Organization are pleased to welcome proposals by Barbadian-based contemporary artists for the design of new works to be incorporated into one rain shelter and two benches for installation on the Barbados Trailway Project.

IMPORTANT DATES for PHASE 1:

Open Call Announcement: January 25th, 2022
Submission of Proposal Deadline: March 19th, 2022
Jury Review of Proposals: March 22nd – April 2nd, 2022
Artists Informed: April 6th, 2022
Public announcement of results: April 12th, 2022
Production of new works: April 12th – May 28th, 2022
Submission of completed works: May 28th, 2022
Production and installation of works: May 31st – June 25th, 2022


ABOUT THE PROJECT:

This project recognises the role of the arts sector in addressing the growing mental health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, followed and further impacted by the La Soufriere volcanic eruption and Category 1 Hurricane Elsa.

The pandemic and occurrence of natural disasters have reminded us of the value of green spaces and the natural environment to enhance our physical, mental and spiritual wellness. It is well known that people, and children in particular, recover better and flourish in the outdoors. While Barbados is blessed with many beaches where locals can recreate, there isn’t enough variety of safe outdoor recreational activities promoting active mobility for young people and families.

The Future Centre Trust has been working for some time to repurpose the historic train line located in the south-central part of the island in the St. George Valley.

With the support of the Healing Arts Initiative, Fresh Milk is pleased to be collaborating with the Future Centre Trust and Environ Ltd (Adopt A Stop Barbados) to work with local artists and to strategically install these artistic interventions on the trailway as a linear outdoor exhibition opportunity, giving artists a chance to contribute to this dynamic and highly anticipated public project.


Healing Arts launched in 2020 under the auspices of the World Health organization as part of The Future is Unwritten, a global initiative calling for urgent cooperation between the Arts Sector and United Nations Agencies in order to amplify and accelerate implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the most ambitious and comprehensive global development plan in human history. With leading UN Agencies describing the recent pandemic as nature’s first ‘warning shot’ to civilizations playing with fire, global cultural action that contributes to the envisioning and shaping of a more resilient, healthy and sustainable future is now more urgent than ever.

Established as part of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary Programme (UN75) and Decade of Action, Healing Arts 2020-2030 is produced in 2022 by CULTURUNNERS and Arts & Health @ NYU under the secretariat of the World Health Organization’s Arts and Health Program.


SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

●  Must be work from artists living and working in Barbados;
●  Must be new work produced for this commission;
●  Rain shelter signs dimensions will be 4’ x 6’, landscape orientation with a ¾” bleed;
●  Bench sign dimensions will be 21” x 72,” landscape orientation with a ¾” bleed;
●  Artists can apply for both projects but may only be awarded one commission.


How to Apply:

●  Application forms must be submitted through the Google forms portal here;
●  Proposals must be formatted and uploaded to the form as ONE PDF including:

A description of the proposed work specifically responding to the call (500 words max);
2-3 concept sketches/work samples (embedded in the PDF);
A bio (200 words max);
A portfolio of 5 previous works (fully captioned).

●  Submissions should be titled as follows:
Surname_First Name_Healing_Shelter OR
Surname_First Name_Healing_Bench

Submissions that do not conform to this requirement will not be reviewed. Each separate project proposal must be submitted as a new application form.

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL!

If selected, final artworks must be submitted as files via WeTransfer, following the below guidelines:


SELECTION PROCESS:

The selection process will be led by Fresh Milk in collaboration with representatives from the three partner entities who will contribute to the review and selection process through a roundtable conversation to select works which align with the project overviews and the mission of the Healing Arts Initiative stated above. A total of three artists will be selected from this open call (one artist for the rain shelter, and two artists for the benches).


WHAT THE PROJECT OFFERS:

●  The selected artist for the shelter will receive an artist fee of $2,000.00 USD;
●  The two selected artists for the benches will each receive an artist fee of $1,000.00 USD;
●  Artists’ work will be showcased and promoted on all partner’s websites;
●  Artists’ work will be permanently installed on the Trailway and become property of the Trailway project;
●  The artists’ profile will be permanently housed on the Fresh Milk and partner websites, and their work will be widely promoted throughout Fresh Milk and partner’s networks.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: MARCH 19TH 2022


About the Partners:

CULTURUNNERS produces cross-cultural campaigns, exhibitions and journeys, promoting peace-building & sustainable development through art. Launching at MIT in 2014, CULTURUNNERS’ first project was a multi-year artists’ road-trip broadcasting between the United States and the Middle East. It has since grown to encompass large-scale cultural exchange and diplomacy projects, an artist-led media platform, artists’ spaces and partnerships with institutions around the world.


Fresh Milk is an artist-led, non-profit organisation founded in 2011 and based in Barbados. It is a platform which supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development, fostering a thriving art community.

Fresh Milk offers professional support to artists from the Caribbean and further afield and seeks to stimulate critical thinking in contemporary visual art. Its goal is to nurture artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for growth, excellence and success.


The Future Centre Trust is a non-governmental organisation focused on raising awareness of environmental impacts to Barbados and the planet with a vision to be “a catalyst for sustainable living today and tomorrow”.  It is the main executing entity for the Barbados Trailway Project – a paved bicycle and pedestrian path located primarily on right-of-way lands of the former Barbados Railway.

This network of multi-purpose walking, hiking, running and cycling trails will provide year round recreational access for both locals and visitors, considerably expanding much needed public green space on the island.


For the past 25 years, Adopt A Stop has provided regional and international companies with a unique opportunity to display their products and services on bus shelters and benches in Barbados. The concept for Adopt A Stop was created by Barbadian Barney Gibbs while studying at Cambridge University. The project was then introduced to the island in 1993 as a socially-conscious way to provide a much-needed amenity. The priority was tropical designs constructed with local materials, placed at prime locations to give maximum impact.

The traveling public has embraced the project. The medium provides popular seating and shade for users; while increasing traffic rates mean drivers and passengers are frequently stopped in front of sponsor’s signage.

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.

‘Hardears Universe’ at Barbados Community College

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Fresh Milk  and Adopt A Stop are excited to conclude this edition of the the Fresh Stops collaborative project, ending on Matthew Clarke’s piece titled ‘Hardears Universe’.

In an attempt to bring art into the public space, six artists were commissioned to produce original artwork for benches that have appeared at varied locations around the island. ‘Hardears Universe’ has been installed just outside Barbados Community College, Eyrie Howells’ Road, St. Michael.

Huge thanks to Adopt A Stop for partnering with us on this project over the past year to support emerging Barbadian artists and introduce more artwork into the local environment; it has been a wonderful experience!

The other participating artists included Evan AveryVersia HarrisMark King and  Simone Padmore. This project aimed to create visibility for the work of emerging creatives, allowing the public to encounter and interact with their pieces in everyday life, generating interest and inviting dialogue  about their practices.

See the full suite of works on our Fresh Stops project page here.

About ‘Hardears Universe’:

Hardears Universe showcases a collection of characters from the ‘Hardears World’ featured in my graphic novels. It is a place of fantasy populated by characters from Caribbean folklore.

About Matthew Clarke:

Matthew Clarke portrait

Matthew Clarke‘s passion for art started at a young age, and he began participating in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) while attending St. Michael’s School. Through the Festival, he achieved bronze, silver, gold and incentive awards, and went on to be the recipient of the Prime Minster’s Scholarship for Visual Art in 2003. Clarke completed his Associate Degree in Visual Art at the Barbados Community College (BCC) which earned him a Barbados Exhibition for tertiary studies, and in 2009 he obtained a Bachelor Degree with honours in Graphic Design at the same institution. He has freelanced for various design agencies (Virgo, 809, RED Advertising, G and A Communication, RCA) and worked at the Nation Publishing Company on the Attitude Magazine, creating its logo and design. He has also worked at Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), where he was appointed Internal Web Designer in charge of the Banks Beer website.

In addition to working on independent projects, he has been working as a graphic designer at RED Advertising and PR Agency as of 2011, where he is currently Deputy Creative Director. He is the co-owner and principle of a Caribbean comic company called Beyond Publishing, which has published over 22 books sold digitally and in print, both locally and internationally.

Ronald Williams shares a statement about ‘Alpha’

There has been some recent media coverage in the Nation Newspaper in Barbados surrounding a public art piece by local artist Ronald Williams, which was commissioned by Fresh Milk and Adopt A Stop as part of their collaborative Fresh Stops project.

Fresh Milk is very pleased to be able to share a comprehensive statement by Ronald about his artwork entitled Alpha, which can be seen on a bench in Independence Square, Bridgetown. Alpha combines imagery and references from contemporary black culture, based on the artist’s own observations from everyday life, with classic figures from Greek mythology to challenge Western standards of beauty.

We are proud to be supporting Ronald’s thought provoking work, and hope that the attention it is receiving will lead to further dialogue and understanding about contemporary art, its role in society and its value for our culture and environment.

Ronald Williams with his bench entitled 'Alpha'

Ronald Williams with his bench entitled ‘Alpha’

Alpha attempts to question traditionally dominant Western beauty standards. It injects a black consciousness alongside, and at times instead of, the established images found in Classical Greek, Renaissance and Baroque eras.

In appropriating the revered iconography from these eras, I sought to challenge the Western ideals which are so dominant in our culture and mind-sets. The characters are based on five of the Olympians from Greek Mythology (tales which were dominant in my own psyche as those were the first stories I remember really liking as a child).

While I removed the mythical Greek icons from their pedestals, the aim was to also critically investigate black culture and present a Barbadian/Caribbean existence in a new light. Therefore, I used ordinary people and mundane personalities as my inspiration. As a result the five characters take the form of the pretty boy, the party animal, the conscious one, the bad boy and the trickster.

The work, viewed as a collective, reflects African, European and East Asian influences, highlighting that even though we are a predominantly black county/region, it is the intermingling of these various cultures which has caused the Caribbean to be a unique space.

Apollo - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Apollo – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Apollo, described as the most beautiful Olympian and a ‘God’ of the arts, becomes the pretty boy. He is the personification of modern male fashion, which often goes beyond metrosexual and into effeminate/homosexual realms. The character sports a white face on a black body, highlighting the skin bleaching phenomenon (seen as a beautification process), which is prevalent in the black population in the Caribbean.

Dionysus - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Dionysus – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Dionysus, the ‘God’ of alcohol, drunken revelry and ecstasy is the party animal. Dressed as a Kadooment/Carnival masquerader holding a bottle of brandy and set against a smoky marijuana background, the character appears intoxicated and moody. The piece as a whole aims to underline the use of controlled substances when we ‘play mas’ or celebrate, while it simultaneously hints at the darker mood swings which can be a side effect of drug abuse.

Zeus - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Zeus – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Zeus, the supreme Olympian, takes the role of the conscious/spiritual one. He represents a state of serenity and oneness (an ideal level of consciousness many religious/spiritual teachings uphold that one should strive for). His modest natural wood frame (in comparison to the other metallic embellished frames) symbolizes a sense of purity and an immaterial view of the world.

Ares - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Ares – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

‘God’ of war Ares naturally becomes the ‘bad’ boy. The aim of this piece is to exude an aggressive, violent vibe. The character’s ‘tattoos’, made from graffiti, his skull scarf and his horned mask all help to paint the picture of a sinister ‘gangsta’, while the red scarf background and the frame made from bullets sell the idea of a dangerous yet strangely glamorous lifestyle many from poor ‘ghettos’ seem to aspire to.

Hermes - Detail of 'Alpha' by Ronald Williams

Hermes – Detail of ‘Alpha’ by Ronald Williams

Hermes, the mischievous ‘God’ of trade, thieves and wanderers is the trickster. He has a clownish appearance, but the background of optical illusions and card suits indicate that there is some level of deception and gamesmanship involved. While Apollo haughtily wears his white mask, Hermes insincerely revels in his. He is the personification of a role many in the black population (Caribbean and worldwide) feel is necessary to play; a conformity to a dominant white culture.

Ronald Williams, Alpha, 2015

Ronald Williams, Alpha, 2015

Thank you to Ronald for sharing his work, to Adopt A Stop for entering into this partnership with us, and to all of the artists participating in the Fresh Stops project. You can learn more about their pieces here.