Transoceanic Visual Exchange Caribbean

TVE flyer McGilchrist

A survey of film and video works in the Caribbean, Africa and Aotearoa, Transoceanic Visual Exchange (TVE) aims to negotiate the in-between space of our cultural communities outside of traditional geo-political zones of encounter and trade. The three spaces involved – Fresh Milk (Barbados), Video Art Network Lagos (Nigeria) and RM (New Zealand) – first met as participants of International Artist Initiated (IAI), a programme organized and facilitated by David Dale Gallery, Glasgow, in July 2014. TVE intends to build upon these relations and open up greater pathways of visibility, discourse and knowledge production between the artist run initiatives and their regional communities through this laterally curated exhibition project, taking place in Barbados, New Zealand, Nigeria and online.

TVE Caribbean will launch at 7pm on October 14, 2015 at Bagnall Point, BIDC Conference Room, Pelican Village in Bridgetown, Barbados as part of the Barbados Visual Media Festival (BVMF). The exhibition will also be open to the public at that location on October 17, 28 & 30 and features works by:

Versia Harris (Barbados), Katherine Kennedy (Barbados), Michèle Pearson Clarke (Trinidad & Tobago / Canada), Romel Jean Pierre (Haiti), Nick Whittle / Alberta Whittle (Barbados), Rebecca Ann Hobbs (Aotearoa), Ngahuia Raima (Aotearoa), Louisa Afoa (Aotearoa), Nkechi Ebubedike (Nigeria) and Lambert Mousseka (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

There will be additional special screenings taking place at Fresh Milk, The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) as part of their Film Club Screenings and Barbados Community College (BCC):

October 16, 6pm – Fresh Milk, St. George
Rebecca Ann Hobbs – Mangere bridge 246 / Otara at Night (Aotearoa)

October 22, 7pm – Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination
Darcell Apelu – Slap (Aotearoa)
Akwaeke Emezi – Ududeagu (Nigeria)
Carlo Reyes – Viernes Santo (Dominican Republic)

October 29-30, 10am-4pm – Morningside Gallery, Barbados Community College
Olivia McGilchrist – Riva Mumma (Jamaica)
David Gumbs – Offscreen (St. Martin)

RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

For more information please visit www.transoceanicvisualexchange.com, or email Natalie McGuire at tveproject.caribbean@gmail.com.

Special thanks to the Barbados Film and Video Association (BFVA), EBCCI, BCC and Stansfeld Scott Inc. for making these screenings possible, and to Versia Harris and Katherine Kennedy for designing the logo, digital space and flyers.

Charles Phillips interns with Fresh Milk residents Saada Branker & Powys Dewhurst

Fresh Milk is happy to announce that recent graduate in the Barbados Community College (BCC) BFA programme Charles Phillips is interning with our resident artists, writer Saada Branker and filmmaker Powys Dewhurst, as their assistant director and 2nd camera for their documentary project recording Barbadians’ experiences of Hurricane Janet, which struck the island 60 years ago. Charles will be assisting Saada and Powys between June 1 – 26, 2015. Read more about him below:

Charles Phillips. Photo by the artist, courtesy of Monochrome Media

Charles Phillips. Photo by the artist, courtesy of Monochrome Media

About Charles Phillips:

Charles Phillips is a Barbadian digital artist. He acquired his Associate Degree in Visual Arts in 2012 and has recently completed his BFA in the same field at the Barbados Community College.

Charles has been part of various exhibitions at the Barbados Community College between 2010-2014 and has showcased his digital images at Barbados’ Animekon Expo between 2011-2013.

He employs the techniques of digital painting, photography and video. Most of his work investigates and includes elements from martial arts, psychology and mythology or fiction. Charles’s photography uses photo surrealism to create interesting pieces. His most current work explores fictional archetypes and the visual and thematic links between classical and modern fiction, looking at how these narratives repeat themselves.

Charles lives and works in Barbados where he co-founded Monochrome Media, a local company providing creative photography, videography, graphic design and other related services.

Mother Tongue’s Residency – Week 3 Blog Post

Mother Tongue, the curatorial duo of Jessica Carden and Tiffany Boyle, share their third blog post about their ongoing Fresh Milk residency. As well as continuing to meet with artists, collectors and academics based in Barbados, they also made two presentations to the students in the BFA degree programme at the Barbados Community College, screening their 2012 programme ‘Afrofuturism: Revisions Towards a Place in Modernity’ and expanding on their work as curators. Read the full post below: 

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As the third week of our residency here with Fresh Milk draws to a close – and with only a little over a week left to go – we are continuing  to make the most of our time here in Barbados, whilst also beginning to formulate ideas for the return UK project. As with last week, we have primarily been focusing on meeting with artists, writers, curators and academics, in order to further understand the arts infrastructure on the island and how this is affecting practitioners across the board. We have had many productive and engaging conversations about the shape our modest return project may take – both internally and externally – and we’re very focused on producing something that can be meaningful for Barbados and the UK.

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Our third week began with the first of two presentations made by us to the BFA Degree programme students at Barbados Community College. Our afternoon session for the first, second and third year students was a talk and re-screening of our 2012 programme, ‘Afrofuturism: Revisions Towards a Place in Modernity,’ which was originally developed for the Africa In Motion Film Festival 2012. The programme included five works in total by Neïl Beloufa, Philip Mallory Jones, The Otolith Group, Rico Gatson and the Glasgow-based artist Michelle Hannah. Then on Thursday morning, we made a presentation to the third year students speaking with them on the history of curating and exhibition-making, and an introduction to our practice. The students do not have a curating module here, but the dialogue following our presentation was really impressive. We have found the various discussions with students at the college really helpful for our outlook on contemporary art here in Barbados, especially for understanding the conditions under which emergent artists are producing. Whilst at BCC, we took the opportunity to sit in on art historian and curator Therese Hadchity’s seminar on ‘Caribbean Art,’ which explored modern and contemporary Caribbean art with a focus on post-independence practitioners in Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados. After the lecture we had the opportunity to briefly discuss Therese’s role as the founder and director of the former Zemicon gallery, which formed a central role in supporting the work of Barbadian artists throughout the 90’s.

Continuing to gather information about the arts in Barbados, particularly during the 90’s and early 2000’s we met with art historian Alison Thompson who talked us through her regional and international work and upcoming projects. We were also fortunate enough to meet with the established artist Alison Chapman Andrews, who allowed us full access to her wonderfully active studio and large archive of sketchbooks and prints dating back to the 1970’s. Alison wrote a long-running column on art for local press, and flicking through her – very well arranged – collection of these, gives a real sense of a vibrancy in the local art scene during the 80s and 90s. Alison’s house is also something of a gallery in itself: with paintings, drawings and sculptures adorning every wall from the various artists she has known and admired over her long a career as an artist. We also took a visit to meet Clyde Cave, a renowned art collector, whose house is also arranged around, and in tribute to, his fascinating collection of Caribbean contemporary art.

Touring Clyde Cave's collection

After a discussion with Fresh Milk’s Director Annalee Davis surrounding our interest in the art networks between the Caribbean islands, she made an informal presentation to us on Fresh Milk’s ‘Caribbean Art Spaces’ online mapping project, which maps-out the variety of art spaces and artist-led initiatives across the Caribbean from Jamaica to Trinidad to Guyana, the Dominican Republic, to Martinique. It’s a fantastic resource and really important in crossing the many language barriers between the islands and mainland. Over these past three weeks, our many conversations with Annalee have been some of the most insightful and constructive dialogues, as we attempt to come to an understanding of the arts infrastructure here.

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Finally, we met for a second time with Professor Sean Carrington, this time at the University of the West Indies Biology department where he lectures, to be given a tour of the herbarium. Sean opened up their vast archives, talking us through the many specimens that have been collected from all over the Caribbean for hundreds of years. The visit helped push along our thinking around the colonial elements of horticulture, flora and fauna, and its significance in the work of Caribbean artists. We’re working hard to fit in as much in our fourth week as possible – we look forward to reporting back!

Exhibition by Versia Harris at the IBB

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Instituto Buena Bista, Curacao in collaboration with Fresh Milk and Barbados Community College (BCC), has the pleasure to announce that Barbadian Artist Versia Harris will be exhibiting on October 25th 2013.

Versia Harris together with British/Barbadian artist Nick Whittle is residing at the IBB as part of the IBB’s Junior/Senior exchange program and our efforts for an exchange project and collaboration with the BCC. Nick unfortunately had to take sudden leave for family matters, but he plans to return to finish his residency in the near future.

Versia Harris (1991) is a Barbadian artist living and working in Weston, St. James. She graduated from the Barbados Community College with a BFA in the Studio Art program in 2012, with an award from The Leslie’s Legacy Foundation for the most promising student. She recently completed her second local residency at The Fresh Milk Art Platform and her first international residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont. Versia explains that in her work she explores the fantasies and experiences of an original character. The character is introduced to Walt Disney animations, and consequently layers what she desires from these animations onto her life, especially her physical self. Her relationship to the world around her changes, as she compares her reality and the fantasy of Disney Animated stories. She struggles with her perception of self being in complete contrast with the Disney princesses.

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Sparked by her interest in storytelling, she created the character and story to generate a comparison between Walt Disney iconography and her reality. Despite the fabricated narrative, she addresses issues that intrigue her such as how one can be influenced by media and the process of comparing oneself to another of unrealistic standards. You can follow the artist on Tumblr or on Twitter @versiaharris

Versia also provided an animation workshop to the students at the IBB. Students were asked to work in groups of two to create their own character and make a short hand-drawn animation. Using Photoshop as a manipulation tool, students made short animations ranging from feel-good themes all the way to more dramatic subjects. The final results will also be presented during the night of Versia’s exhibition.

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We invite you to come and meet artist Versia Harris, experience her work and be transported to her amazing world of manipulated pen-drawn animations.

Date: Friday, October 25th 2013
Time: starts at 7p.m. sharp
Place: Instituto Buena Bista

For more information on the exhibition or the IBB please visit our website or call us weekdays at +5999 736 3605 and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.

Damali Abrams’ Residency: Week 1 Report

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Damali Abrams making a presentation to the BCC Fine Arts students

For the past six months I have been participating in an off-site residency, collaborating with Fresh Milk on the Fresh Performance project. To find out how performance art manifests in New York City and the Caribbean, I have been conducting a series of interviews with artists who engage performance in different forms in their work. This includes performative photos and videos as well as live performance. Each month from April through September, I interviewed one artist in NYC and one in the Caribbean via the internet. Each month the interviews had a different theme including defining performance art; gender & sexuality; and how performance communicates. Now I am here in Barbados to edit the interviews together into a full-length documentary.

The first week of my residency here on the Fresh Milk platform was lovely, though I also felt a bit anxious. I have about six hours of interview footage from the past six months, though the videos that I have been posting online have only been about ten minutes each. I finally have the opportunity to add in all of the interesting things that the artists said that I had to edit out. Though it is an interesting project, it is somewhat daunting as well.

When I’m at home in New York and I am working on editing video projects, I often take dance breaks to shake out my body as well as my brain. I’m too shy to do that here but I have been taking collage breaks, collecting images from books and magazines that Fresh Milk provided and covering them with glitter. I’m not sure how any of this will turn out or if it will even turn into anything concrete, but it is an enjoyable way to take breaks from sitting in front of the computer all day.

Damali Abrams