CATAPULT Stay Home Artist Residency Blogs – Issue 3, Vol. 3 & 4

The CATAPULT Stay Home Artist Residency (SHAR) provides opportunities for 24 cultural practitioners from the English, French, Spanish and Dutch speaking Caribbean to be supported while safely remaining in their studios/work-spaces, each of whom will receive a $3,000 USD stipend to produce work over a two-month period.

We are pleased to share Issue #3, Volume 3 and Volume 4 of the blog posts produced by participating residents, documenting their experiences and processes during their residency. Issue #3 follows the journey of the third group of SHAR awardees: Franz Caba (Dominican Republic), Myrlande Constant (Haiti), Miguel Keerveld (Suriname),  Las Nietas de Nonó (Puerto Rico), Ada M. Patterson (Barbados), Kelly Sinnapah Mary (Guadeloupe), Shivanee Ramlochan (Trinidad & Tobago) and Angelika Wallace-Whitfield (The Bahamas).

Click on the images below to read these sets of resident blogs as e-zines!


Issue 3, Vol. 3

Issue 3, Vol. 4


ABOUT CATAPULT:

CATAPULT | A Caribbean Arts Grant is a COVID-19 relief programme conceptualised by Kingston Creative (Jamaica) and Fresh Milk (Barbados) and funded by the American Friends of Jamaica | The AFJ (USA). Designed as a capacity building initiative it will directly provide financial support to over 1,000 Caribbean artists, cultural practitioners and creative entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic and working in the themes of culture, human rights, gender, LGBTQIA+, and climate justice.


ABOUT THE PARTNERS:

American Friends of Jamaica | The AFJ has a near 40 year history of funding charitable organizations in Jamaica in the fields of Education, Healthcare and Economic Development. A registered 501 c 3 nonprofit headquartered in New York City, AFJ relies on individual and corporate contributions made by donors who believe in our work and will advocate on our behalf. Part of the AFJ’s mission is to facilitate donor directed contributions which enables donors to support registered charitable organizations aligned with their own goals for philanthropy.


Kingston Creative is a registered non-profit organization founded in February 2017. Its mission is to enable creatives to succeed so that they can create economic and social value, gain access to global markets and have a positive impact on their community.

 


Fresh Milk is an organisation whose aim is to nurture, empower and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence and success. Fresh Milk supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development and foster a thriving art community.

Matilde dos Santos writes on CATAPULT Awardee Réginald Sénatus for Madinin’Art

Martinique based historian, art critic and independent curator Matilde dos Santos, who was one of the guest curators/mentors selected to conduct studio visits with 6 of the 24 CATAPULT Stay Home Artist Residency participants, has generously offered to write features on each of the artists she engaged with during the programme. The second piece focuses on the practice of Haitian artist Réginald Sénatus!

Read the article, originally published in French on Madinin’Art: Critiques Culturelle de Martinique (November 29, 2020), in English below!


Last August, Fresh Milk, Kingston Creative and The American Friends of Jamaica, conceived and launched the program CATAPULT | A Caribbean Arts Grant; a set of six initiatives designed to support Caribbean creatives confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic. I had the honour of being invited by Fresh Milk to visit the artists’ studios as part of the “Stay Home Artist Residency.” Among the 24 candidates selected by the CATAPULT jury, I was able to virtually meet 6 young and talented artists from Aruba, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Martinique. I wanted to share these moments of discovery with you. Here is the second episode in this series of studio visits.

Réginald Sénatus was born in 1994 in Port au Prince, where he lives and works. Having grown up around artists’ workshops on the Grande Rue, and inspired by artists like Celeur and Casseus, he participated since 2010 in the Collective Atis Rezistans, comprised essentially of sculptors working with recovery materials. As of 2017, he is a founding member of Nou pran lari a, an artistic and social movement that invests urban space to exhibit artists outside of traditional spaces. Hanging out on the Grande Rue, he became exposed to practices where the border between crafts and art is vague, or even non-existent, as it is becoming more and more common in the world of contemporary art. Self-taught at the outset, he trained at the Art Centre by participating in workshops on engraving, sculpture, painting, ceramics… with artists such as Pasko, Mario Benjamin, Sébastien Jean, Patrick Villaire, Simil, Tessa Mars, Mafalda Mondestin and Pascale Faublas, among others. He also had the opportunity to collaborate with other artists such as Gina Cunningham in 2017 and Ernest Pignon-Ernest in 2019. Very active, he participated in various artistic events including several editions of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, receiving the 3rd  prize in 2015 and the 1st prize in 2017 and 2019. In January 2020, in a kind of national consecration, he exhibits at The Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH).

Reginald Sénatus, Nou pran la ria

Réginald studied law, and that may be why his work reflects a constant concern for societal issues, namely social and environmental injustices. His work focusses on the country and its capital, adopting a benevolent but not complacent look at the ills of the city, revealing a particular interest in both the exclusions and the affirmation of life.

Technically his works from the Ghetto biennials of 2017 and 2019 and Mansuétude, which he produced in the SHAR-CATAPULT programme this year,  all belong to the same series. All three of them are composed of raw and smooth plywood, forming a surface on which the artist assembles pieces of square or rectangular wood, to serve as a support for a rubber plate, which is then engraved, painted, and inked. Up until 2017 Réginald used recycled rubber tires, which he cut into plates; since 2018 he uses rubber plates, that generally serve in Haiti to make shoe soles. He works with them like any other engraving material, such as linoleum blocks. First he draws on the plate and then digs out the patterns. Afterwards, he inks the hollows with acrylic auto paint.  The 2017 piece was painted white, while carefully avoiding the hollows, which remained naturally black. Other works, once ready, are rubbed with a fabric soaked in solvent to obtain a shiny finish. The plates do not constitute a step in an engraving process; they will not serve to print, but provide the support for cutting and painting, as a canvas. For a long time, he used a razor to dig out his motifs, but since 2018 he uses gouges. Once the plate is engraved and painted, he may add mirrors, plastic bottles, any kind of objects. A practice of recuperation, reuse and upcycling. A very contemporary painting practice through its use of non-traditional materials and supports, but also a practice that shares a great intimacy with popular art and Art brut. And if we want to refer to established movements in the history of art, we could relate his work to the Nouveau realisme or the Arte povera, for the use he makes of poor materials and recovered objects.

In 2017, he devoted six months to the creation of  Nan Benyen Potoprens Pa gen kache lonbrik,  literally, “when Port-au-Prince bathes, she does not hide her navel,” which reveals the city “without lying and without reserve” according to his words. The installation is an imagined cartography of the city, drawn with small wooden briquettes, each surmounted by a rubber plate, engraved and painted, often with religious symbols that the artist uses to represent historical and contemporary aspects of the city. The installation was interactive in a way, since the public was invited to invest one side of the work to record its thoughts, on the city, its problems, its hopes… A work that I see in pieces in the dim light of the studio, and that renders it all so beautiful in the photos.

In 2019, working on the theme of the Ghetto biennial “The Haitian Revolution and Beyond,”  Réginald chose to portray the Battle of Vertières, the last battle against slavery and colonization in Haiti. The work Murs et portes de Vertières is accompanied by a text that reveals the artist’s intention. At Vertières, he says, two men born as slaves, Jean Jacques Dessalines and Capois-La-Mort, defied the world order. Their victory led to the creation of the first black republic in the world. If Réginald has shown an interest in walls and doors, it is because these are ambivalent objects that can give passage or on the contrary, restrict access, to both good and evil.   Insurmountable, they protect or exclude. Crossed over, they can open up on dreams or nightmares.  In this work, we notice that the artist abandoned religious symbols for those of his own making. He also added mirrors and gave the work a finish so lustrous that the black surfaces shine like mirrors.

Mansuétude, the work produced in residence, bears the mark of the pandemic. He created it as a kind of exorcism: talking about the virus to keep it at bay, to cast out fear as well. Here, the artist approaches figuration, with more elaborate drawings, almost characters, depicting masked women. All the young artists I met at the SHAR residency told me how much they felt the impact of the pandemic; living most often in precarious situations even before confinement, they then suffered cancellations or postponements of projects, loss of income and above all, for Réginald, loneliness and alienation. The CATAPULT grant offered Réginald the possibility to focus on a project: the piece Mansuétude made entirely while in residence, yet another assemblage of rubber plates mounted on wood, engraved and inked. On almost all of the plates, a spiral or circle, that of the virus itself, that of the circle of humans.

On two smaller plates, there are plastic bottles and cutlery; on another, the symbol of the US dollar; in the end, comprising a whole series of recurrent concerns in the time of pandemic. The artist experiences the crisis as indicative of the fragilities and weaknesses of our societies on a global scale, affecting first of all the most vulnerable: the elders. He thinks that only mutual aid can overcome these fragilities, hence the figures of masked women discussing in a circle. In Haiti, as in Martinique, a woman is a poto mitan, fanm doubout, pillar of the family. Similarly, it is through them that we begin to heal the world. I find the plates very beautiful, taken individually;  but I can’t say why their assembly on the wooden support leaves me dubious, as if the installation was not yet finished.

The visit to Réginald’s studio was disrupted by technical glitches. One could not hear, the other could hardly see. He showed me around his studio with his phone, which was not ideal for visibility, especially since the workshop was rather dark. I wanted to see better what I was guessing in the dark. So we continued to talk the following days, via WhatsApp. Réginald also sent me photos and texts. I discovered a committed artist, socially engaged and concerned about the current state of his country. Proud of his story. Eager to meet people and learn from them. Undeniably gifted with his hands. An artist who seizes every opportunity to learn and enrich his practice; an artist focused on sharing, who intends to pass on the fruits of his experience in residency to his fellow artists in Haiti. A young artist to follow, no doubt.

– Matilde dos Santos – Historian, art critic and independent curator

Appreciation to the partners of the CATAPULT programme: The American Friends of Jamaica, Kingston Creative and Fresh Milk.

The SHAR participants described their experiences in blogs that you can read on the Fresh Milk platform here.

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

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.

Announcing Fresh Milk’s November 2020 Artists in Residence!

Fresh Milk is delighted to welcome two creative practitioners to our International Artist Residency Programme from November 2nd – 28th, 2020! While our team made the decision to scale back our programming this year as we work to reconsider the future of the platform, Fresh Milk is honouring its previous commitments to pre-planned residencies.

As such, we are excited to introduce Haitian 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, supported by UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFDC) – and UK-based writer and curator of Bajan and Jamaican heritage, Aliyah Hasinah.


About Pascale Faublas:

En français:

Pascale Faublas est née  à Port  au Prince en 1961, elle vit et travaille en Haïti. Après trois décennies d’une carrière artistique prolifique, PASKAL s’affirme comme  artiste plasticienne dans le paysage de l’art contemporain haïtien, développant une technique originale faite de collage de papier préalablement imprimés au moyen de techniques acquises en autodidacte : mixed media, encre et acrylique, batik, grattage, monotype, tout en se basant sur une recherche de matériaux issus de son environnement et sur les principes de l’art de la récupération.

In English:

Pascale Faublas was born in Port au Prince in 1961, and currently lives and works in Haiti. After three decades of a prolific artistic career, PASKAL is an established visual artist in the landscape of contemporary Haitian art, developing  original, self-taught techniques using collages of paper previously printed on, and working in mixed media, ink and acrylic, batik, scratching, and monotype. Their practice utilizes materials from from the environment, and is based and on the principles of the art of recovery.

FB: pascalefaublas
IG: @pascalefaublas

________

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.


About Aliyah Hasinah:

Aliyah Hasinah is a curator and writer of Bajan and Jamaican heritage, raised in Britain. Her practice focuses on decolonial approaches to amplifying nuanced Black storytelling through installation art, film and exhibition.

She has curated for Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Southbank Centre, Eastside Projects, Ort Gallery, Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery and more. In 2019 Arts Council funded her research in ‘Decolonising the Curatorial’ that took place in the UK, Barbados, New York & Bahia, Brazil.

Whilst on residency at Fresh Milk Aliyah aims to learn more about West Indian Art History and Black conceptual immersive art in the modern day.