Pascale Faublas’ Fresh Milk Residency – Week 2 Blog Post

Fresh Milk shares the second blog post by Haitian resident artist Pascale Faublas, who is joining us as part of an artist exchange programme with Le Centre d’Art, Haiti, to create opportunities for women arts practitioners. Pascale has had a productive second week, meeting a number of Barbadian creatives and having stimulating discussions about the regional art scene, as well as beginning to dive in to creating her own work in the Fresh Milk studio. This programme is supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFDC) and the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL). Read more below:


En français

Semaine 2

Fresh Milk Barbados est une ruche effervescente, une plateforme dynamique favorisant les rencontres, échanges  entre les  créatifs de la Barbade et d’ailleurs.  En effet,  ma deuxième semaine de résidence a été riche  en  rencontres, dialogues et discussions sur la réalité, et les problématiques spécifiques aux créateurs de la Caraïbes, leurs inspirations, aspirations, perspectives de création et de diffusion de l’art de la région.  Apres avoir visité l’exposition individuelle  «This is how our garden grows » de l’artiste barbadien Kraig Yearwood, celui ci nous a rendu visite a FreshMilk ou il nous a fait une brève et intéressante présentation de son travail et de son parcours, s’est entretenu avec ma co résidente, la conservatrice Aliyah Hasinah sur la situation de la présence de l’art de la Barbade localement, dans la région et sur la scène internationale, discuter de la nécessité de la décolonisation des Arts de la région caraïbes.

Un cocktail « Meet and Greet » organisé par FreshMilk m’a permis de rencontrer plusieurs milléniaux créatifs de la Barbade et de planifier des visites d’atelier pour la semaine a venir.

Au courant de cette 2eme semaine de résidence, riche de ces échanges, et mise à disposition de son atelier de rêve, j’ai  heureusement entamé ma première création artistique que j’ai hâte de vous présenter.


In English

Week 2

Fresh Milk Barbados is an effervescent hive, a dynamic platform promoting meetings and exchanges between creatives from Barbados and elsewhere. Indeed, my second week of the residency was rich in meetings, dialogues and discussions on our realities, and the specific issues of Caribbean creators, their inspirations, aspirations, perspectives of creation and dissemination of the art of the region. After visiting the solo exhibition ‘This is how our garden grows’ by Barbadian artist Kraig Yearwood, he visited us at Fresh Milk where he gave us a brief and interesting presentation of his work and his career. He spoke with my co-resident, curator Aliyah Hasinah about the status of Barbados’ art presence locally, in the region and on the international stage, discussing the need for the decolonization of the arts in the Caribbean.

A ‘Meet and Greet’ cocktail hosted by Fresh Milk allowed me to meet several creative Barbadian millennials and plan studio visits for the coming week.

During this 2nd week, rich in these exchanges made available in this dream studio, I fortunately started my first artistic creation, which I can’t wait to present to you.


About Le Centre d’Art:

Le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince is an institution that works towards promoting artistic creations by Haitian practitioners on the basis of preserved heritage values. Since its creation in 1944, this atypical space with multiple missions has been at the heart of societal and artistic evolutions. As the major protagonist in the reconfiguration of the fine arts realm in Haiti, Le Centre d’Art has been paving the way for several schools and artistic movements.

Despite the destruction of the infrastructure during the earthquake of 2010, Le Centre d’Art managed to save more than 5000 works and 3000 archive files, which are today preserved and valued. Since the reopening in 2014, Le Centre d’Art has once again become an essential part of Haitian culture.

Its mission is to support artists and their creations, and to conserve and disseminate Haitian visual arts. It is a resource space for artists, art students, art lovers, collectors and researchers alike.

Aliyah Hasinah’s Fresh Milk Residency – Week 1 Blog Post

UK-based writer and curator of Bajan and Jamaican heritage, Aliyah Hasinah, shares her first blog post about her Fresh Milk international residency. Using this time primarily for research into the art scene and cultural policy in a Barbadian context, Aliyah kicks off her blogs by reflecting on some of the texts she has immersed herself in to ground her knowledge and understanding of the space, and looks forward to having more in-person discussions with artists, creatives and cultural practitioners as the weeks progress. Read more below:


It’s been a week since I started my residency at Fresh Milk with the intention of immersing myself in study to learn more about the art world and cultural policy in Barbados. Having not had the means to attend university, I’m always profoundly grateful for moments to study away from the day-to-day grind of trying to pay your rent in London, so hearing monkeys (my favourite animals) on the library roof has been a well welcomed change. I’d also like to thank Arts Council England for funding this residency because I’ve been LEARNING, I’ve been learning *Beyonce voice*. 

Prior to this, I met with Annalee Davis last year when starting my research into ‘Decolonising the Curatorial’, as funded by Arts Council England. My research was looking at the role of Crop Over as a space for exhibition outside the white walls of the gallery, a topic Claire Tancons discusses well in her essay ‘Curating Carnival’, and how galleries can never do justice to the embodied experience of carnival. 

Through my research, I sought to further understand the colonial history and how rebellions birthed art practices – or continued them – as we’ve always found ways to make art. Having only scratched the surface last year, I was keen to take more time to understand the layers and nuance of Bajan Art and cultural expression, outside of what was familial and familiar to me.

Just to prefix, I’m a loud mouth when it comes to explaining or calling out the manifestations of coloniality in the modern day in England. However, I’m very aware of my positionality as a curator from Britain researching in Barbados. My gaze does not come from one of authority but is an opinion formed from the research and conversations had with some of the island’s artists, art producers, essays as well as what I observe. 

One of the writings I’ve been reading this week that deeply resonated with me was Winston Kellman’s Between A Rock And A Hard Place’ published in Sustainable Art Communities, as edited by Leon Wainwright and Kitty Zijlmans. Kellman explores several historical threads to bring us to the modern day, including the relationships with the UK and US following Barbados’ independence in 1966.

Kellman’s particular highlighting of how western modernity has shunned Caribbean art practice of landscape painting and sculpture, alluding to it being devoid of conceptual fervour is, in my mind, linked to a colonial mindset that deems ‘conceptual art’ in a particular way. 

This perspective ignores the context of the space and time that these artworks were created in, and instead attributes an archetypal aesthetic to the notion of contemporary art as opposed to understanding that sculpture and painting of the island has a deeper rooted contextualisation in the resources i.e. clay, and historical craftsmanship of the land – and is therefore contemporary if it is being made in the present. This disregard for painting and sculpture subconsciously alludes to artworks, often by Black artists, specifically in the Caribbean, being inferiorized because of a lack of contextual understanding of how the work came into being, and is additionally sidelined in national and international discourses surrounding contemporary conceptual art. All due to a lack of understanding of the context of the work. 

Anywho, I could go on for days about the learnings of the last week, all to say I’m very excited to deepen my study and continue learning about policy, sustainability and the hopes/dreams of emerging artists on the Island. The culture is very much being pushed forward by multiple artists. It is with thanks to those who have laid the foundations that younger artists today are scoping out what is possible in the process of building visual arts communities and infrastructures across Barbados that do not solely privilege the tourist economy (more on that real soon, hold tight tourism as neo-colonialism and insert Mo the Comedian saying ‘Barbados’).

I’m excited to start my new week, meeting more artists, collectors and academics. I may also post some of my readings and thoughts on my instagram (@aliyahhasinah) as I jump into my second week at Fresh Milk.

To end lightly here are 5 songs I’ve had on loop this week:

Until next week.

Lots of love and take care

Aliyah xx

P.s. Here’s some of what I’m reading / have been the last week and will continue to delve into this week, and hold tight Caleb Femi on the release of his new poetry book ‘Poor’ which everyone should cop if they can. (Feel free to send me reading and art recommendations on twitter @aliyahhasinah)

Pascale Faublas’ Fresh Milk Residency – Week 1 Blog Post

Fresh Milk shares the first blog post by Haitian resident artist Pascale Faublas, who is joining us as part of an artist exchange programme with Le Centre d’Art, Haiti, to create opportunities for women arts practitioners. In her first week, Pascale introduces us to the experience of coming to Barbados during these challenging times, following travel protocols and transitioning into the start of her residency. This programme is supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFDC) and the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL). Read more below:


En français

Semaine 1

A année exceptionnelle, décisions exceptionnelles! En cette année 2020 marquée par la pandémie du Covid 19, ma résidence artistique a Fresh Milk en Barbades a été exceptionnellement coordonnée par Le Centre d’Art en Haïti et Fresh Milk en Barbades avec le support de l’Unesco et de la Fokal dans l’objectif de rapprocher les artistes de la Caraïbe et d’’offrir des opportunités aux femmes artistes en particulier.

Arrivée en Barbades le 1er Novembre, et suivant les mesures  imposées par le gouvernement, les 6 premiers jours de mon séjour seront conditionnés par ce virus, confinée dans une chambre d’hôtel désigné a cet effet , avec interdiction de prendre contact physique avec quiquonque pas avant les résultats négatifs d’un test Covid PCR pris au 2eme jour et un report de température tous les jours 2 fois par jour pendant 14 jours. 

Je serai donc accueillie a distance par Annalee Davis, qui généreusement me pourvoira en  livres provenant de la bibliothèque de Fresh Milk , traitant de la culture, de l’art dans la Caraïbe et la Barbades, me mettra en contact avec des personnes ressources telles que Dr. Tonya Haynes and Taitu Heron pour une mise en contexte de mon projet de résidence : Fanm se poto mitan.

C’est ainsi que,  le 6 Novembre, je suis reçue par Anna Lee Davis et Katherine Kennedy a Fresh Milk sur son site la  Walkers Dairy , une ancienne plantation coloniale aujourd’hui convertie en ferme ou se trouve l’atelier et la résidence d’artistes.


In ENGLISH

Week 1

In an exceptional year, exceptional actions! In this year, 2020, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, my artistic residency at Fresh Milk in Barbados was exceptionally coordinated by Le Centre d’Art in Haiti and Fresh Milk in Barbados with the support of UNESCO and Fokal with the objective of bringing artists from the Caribbean closer together, and to offer opportunities to women artists in particular.

I arrived in Barbados on November 1, and following the measures imposed by the government, the first 6 days of my stay were conditioned by this virus. I was confined in a hotel room designated for this purpose, with a ban on making physical contact with anyone before the negative results of a Covid PCR test taken on the 2nd day and a temperature report every day twice a day for 14 days.

I was greeted at a distance by Annalee Davis, who generously provided me with books dealing with culture, art in the Caribbean and Barbados, all from the Colleen Lewis Reading Room at Fresh Milk. Fresh Milk put me in contact with Dr. Tonya Haynes (Institute for Gender & Development Studies at the University of the West Indies) and Taitu Heron (Director of the UWI Women and Development Unit, University of the West Indies) for me to contextualize my residency project: Fanm se poto mitan.

On November 6, I was received by Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy at Fresh Milk on their site at Walkers Dairy, a former colonial plantation now converted into a farm, which hosts workshops and artist residencies.


About Le Centre d’Art:

Le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince is an institution that works towards promoting artistic creations by Haitian practitioners on the basis of preserved heritage values. Since its creation in 1944, this atypical space with multiple missions has been at the heart of societal and artistic evolutions. As the major protagonist in the reconfiguration of the fine arts realm in Haiti, Le Centre d’Art has been paving the way for several schools and artistic movements.

Despite the destruction of the infrastructure during the earthquake of 2010, Le Centre d’Art managed to save more than 5000 works and 3000 archive files, which are today preserved and valued. Since the reopening in 2014, Le Centre d’Art has once again become an essential part of Haitian culture.

Its mission is to support artists and their creations, and to conserve and disseminate Haitian visual arts. It is a resource space for artists, art students, art lovers, collectors and researchers alike.

Torika Bolatagici’s Residency – Week 1 Blog Post

Melbourne-based Pacific artist Torika Bolatagici shares her first blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. Coming to Barbados with three main goals in mind – to understand the local arts ecology, meet contemporary Barbadian artists and make new work – Torika has spent the first week acclimatizing to both the physical and intangible environment of the country, drawing connections between the region and the Pacific islands and delving into the Colleen Lewis Reading Room to continue her research on contemporary Caribbean art. Read more below:

I am still processing my first week in Barbados. The past 7 days have been a chaotic and exciting mix of books, sweat, introductions, discoveries and breastfeeds in air-conditioned hire cars. Like previous resident Halcyon Macleod, the journey from Australia was a long series of delays and missed connections, and we also lost our portacot. But 7-days in and we’re starting to find our flow here. This week I swam in the Caribbean Sea and dipped my toes in the Atlantic Ocean. I have explored the east coast to Bath Beach and the west coast as far as St. Peter, and I learned a new word – plantocracy.

So, I arrived at Fresh Milk with three main goals; to understand the arts ecology here; meet contemporary Barbadian artists and make new work.

On my first day in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room, Annalee gave me a tour of the collection. It was so wonderful to finally be able to read publications I have only seen from afar including the early issues of ARC Magazine, Pictures from Paradise and See Me Here. ARC magazine was the main influence when I initiated the publication Mana Motu for the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival in Australia. I have admired the work of Fresh Milk from a distance for some time and am eager to know more about how the space has developed and to find out more about arts education here.

I have a thing for Reading Rooms and art libraries. In 2011 I spent a couple of weeks at the Stuart Hall library at the Institute of International Visual Arts. As a result of that experience, I created the pop-up Community Reading Room in Melbourne, using my own collection. When I found out (via ARC) about the Colleen Lewis Reading Room Residency, I knew immediately that it was a space I wanted to engage with.

I have spent my first week getting acquainted with the collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room, in an effort to understand the development of the local arts ecology. The collection is incredible, and during my 4 week residency, I will just be able to scratch the surface.

Some of the main texts I have been looking at this week are:

  • Art in Barbados: What Kind of Mirror Image?
  • Caribbean Distpatches: Beyond the Tourist Dream
  • Caribbean: Crossroads of the World
  • Curating in the Caribbean
  • Developing Blackness: Studio Photographs of “Over the Hill”: Nassau in the Independence Era
  • How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness
  • Paulo Nazareth
  • Pictures from Paradise
  • See Me Here

I came to Barbados with a desire to identify points of connection, overlap and departure between the island cultures of Barbados and Fiji. There was an instant feeling of familiarity stepping into the thick humidity of Grantley Adams International airport last Saturday, and although I travel frequently to Fiji, I think it has taken me a week to acclimatize to Barbadian heat. Annalee and Katherine, have made me (and my family) feel so welcome at Fresh Milk and I look forward to chatting with them about their respective practices.  Another highlight has been meeting local artist Anisah Wood, whose work I find compelling.

Anisah and I spent Day 2 getting to know each other and our conversation covered matters of indigeneity and belonging; deculturation, transculturation  and assimilation; migration; climate change; national identity; local politics; Indonesia and West Papua ; The Dominican Republic and Haiti; foreign investment and student loans. I’m learning so much from Anisah, including how to play the game warri as a part of her Quid Pro Quo residency outreach and I’m looking forward to seeing how the next 3 sessions unfold. I’ll be leading a session in the final week of my residency.

And so I am discovering that there are some obvious similarities between Fiji and Barbados. Colonial history. Indentured labour. A sugar industry. Tourism. Rum. Protex. Mahogany. Coconut water. Expats. Poverty. At the moment I am reading more about the military history of Barbados. One thing that frames my experience of Fiji, is the overt presence of militarism. My practice-based PhD explored the spaces in which the dialectics of race, embodiment, masculinity, globalisation, militarism, colonialism and agency meet, diverge and collide in a Fijian context. So I am intrigued by the size and invisibility of the Barbados Defence Force… this is an area I want to explore further in the coming weeks…

_______________________

AusCo

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.