FRESH MILK XIX

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to present FRESH MILK XIX, taking place on Monday, June 27, 2016 from 6-8 pm. The event will feature Fijian-Australian artist Torika Bolatagici and Barbadian artist Anisah Wood, who are in residence at Fresh Milk for the month of June.

Torika will be speaking about both her own work and that of a selection of Pacific artists in a talk titled ‘Seeing the Black Pacific’. Anisah – the winner of the 2016 ‘My Time’ Local Artist Residency – will make a presentation about her practice and residency experience so far, as well as have an open discussion with Torika about her work.

This event is free and open to the public. Directions to Fresh Milk can be found on the About Page of our website here.

FM XIX flyer final

Seeing the Black Pacific

During her residency in Barbados, Fijian-Australian artist Torika Bolatagici has been exploring the historical, cultural and biotic similarities of the island cultures of Fiji and Barbados. With shared histories of British colonization, cannibal mythology, indentured labour, tourism and a declining sugar industry, there are as many parallels between the two countries as there are differences. Torika is interested in how contemporary artists from these respective regions respond to, reflect and represent the island cultures of Melanesia and the Caribbean.

In this presentation, Torika will give an overview of the diverse practices emerging from Australian-based artists of Melanesian and Indian-Fijian heritage.

Cultural Heritage, Revival and Redress
Julia Mage’au Gray (Papua New Guinea)
Lisa Hilli (Papua New Guinea)
Dulcie Stewart (Fiji)

Performing Contemporary Oceanic Identities
Salote Tawale (Fiji)
Eric Bridgeman (Papua New Guinea)

Positioning the (Geo)political Pacific
Taloi Havini (Autonomous Region of Bougainville);
Mohini Chandra (Fiji)
Torika Bolatagici (Fiji)

___________________

About the featured speakers:

Torika-Bolatagici-Profile

Torika Bolatagici

Torika Bolatagici was born in Tasmania and spent the early years of her life living between Hobart, Sydney and her father’s village – Suvavou, Fiji.

Torika works across a range of media, including photography, video and mixed media site-specific installation.  Her interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationship between visual culture, human ecology, postcolonial counter narrative and visual historiography of the Black Pacific. She is interested in exploring the tensions and intersections between gender, embodied knowledge, commodification, migration and globalization.

Torika’s work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Yogyakarta and throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and Australia. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at local and international conferences and symposia about the representation of mixed-race identity; Pacific arts practice in Australia and Fiji; representations of teachers and teaching in cinema; and gender and militarism in the Pacific.

In her role as Symposium coordinator for the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival in 2013 and 2014, Torika curated multiple panels to extend the discourse around contemporary Pacific arts practice in Australia and invited speakers to reflect on themes such as art and activism, museums, collecting and curating, cultural appropriation and contemporary practice. She also produced the symposium publication Mana Motu.

As well as 11 years experience teaching at tertiary level, Torika also has experience facilitating youth arts workshops for the local Pacific community, most recently the Pacific Photobook Project in Melbourne and Sydney.

Torika also presents the Community Reading Room – a pop-up destination for research, community discussion and engagement around international visual arts and culture, with a particular focus on contemporary art and theory from Oceania, Africa and the Americas. The Community Reading Room has appeared at Colour Box Studio (2013) and the Footscray Community Arts Centre (2014).

Torika is a photography lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne where she teaches contemporary theory and practice. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales.

DSC_0012

Anisah Wood

Anisah Wood is a visual artist based in Barbados. She is in the process of completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Barbados Community College with a major in Studio Art. Her practice involves video art, digital photography, and installation. She has had the privilege of exhibiting the results of her practice at the Punch Creative Arena, The National Arts Council Barbados and at various national arts competitions.

_______________________

AusCo

Torika Bolatagici’s project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

FRESH MILK XVIII

FRESH MILK XVIII_Flyer

The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to present FRESH MILK XVIII, taking place on Thursday, November 26, 2015 from 6-9 pm. The event will feature Danish artists Maj Hasager and Ask Kæreby who are in residence at Fresh Milk for the month of November. Maj will be in conversation about her recent publication Making Visible with Barbados-based curator Therese Hadchity, while Ask will make a presentation about his work in experimental sound art and speak about the workshops he has been conducting at Fresh Milk.

Also on the platform will be members from local company Beyond Publishing, who will be speaking about self-publishing in the graphic novel industry in Barbados.

This event is free and open to the public. Limited numbers of Making Visible will be on sale, as well as graphic novels and t-shirts by Beyond Publishing.

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

_________________

About the featured speakers:

Portrait_Hasager_2015

Maj Hasager

Maj Hasager is a Danish artist and filmmaker based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She studied photography and fine art in Denmark, Sweden and the UK, earning an MFA from Malmö Art Academy, Sweden. Her work deals with power structures, identity, memory, the construction of history, and architecture, looking at how these interlinked phenomena are interpreted and represented culturally and spatially. Her artistic approach is research-based and interdisciplinary, and she works predominantly with text, sound, video and photography. The recent years Hasager has used oral history interview techniques as a method for accumulating information relating to personal stories, a site, and historical or political matters. It allows the material to unfold itself through different voices and from different perspectives and functions as a way of mapping an area or a context. Often these interviews lay the ground for the way she makes use of narrative forms and fictional writing as a tool to address personal stories in the context of socio-political matters.

She has exhibited her work internationally in events and institutions such as; Society Acts, Moderna Museet Malmö (2014), A voice of ones own, Malmö Konstmuseum (2014), Community works, Cleveland Institute of Art, 2014; Past Upon Past, Red Barn Photo Gallery, Belfast, Ireland (2013), Decembers, LAZNIA Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk, Poland (2012), Liverpool Biennial, UK (2010). She has been awarded grants in support of her work from the Danish ArtsCouncil, The Danish Arts Foundation, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut, Lebanon), ArtSchool Palestine, Danish Centre for Culture and Development and the Danish Arts Agency. She is the programme director of Critical and Pedagogical studies at Malmö Art Academy, and is a guest lecturer at the International Academy of Art – Palestine, Dar al-Kalima College, Bethlehem and University of Ulster, Belfast.

Ask Kæreby

Ask Kæreby

Ask Kæreby is a Danish composer. He studied music production in Copenhagen, earning a MMus degree from The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Kæreby’s artistic practice is interdisciplinary and research-based, including elements of experimental composition, sound design and electroacoustic music. He is interested in the presentation of narratives by means of sound – not through traditional musical gestures, but using different approaches such as musique concrète or the futurists’ bruitism. Working in the intersection between known formats, Kæreby wishes to challenge our ways of listening – to music (live as well as recorded), to our surroundings and to (sonic) art.

He has been awarded grants in support of his work from The Danish Arts Foundation, Danish Musicians’ Union, Wilhelm Hansen Foundation, Familien Hede Nielsen Foundation, Dansk Artist Association, Ellen & Erik Valdemar Jensen Music Grant, Anders Månsson & wife Memorial Grant and Karen Margrethe Torp-Pedersen & husband Foundation.

Therese Hadchity

Therese Hadchity

Therese Hadchity is an independent art critic, curator and teacher based in Barbados. She was the owner/curator of the Zemicon Gallery in Bridgetown from 2000-2010. She has authored numerous catalogue-essays on Barbadian art and artists, including Ras Akyem Ramsay, Ras Ishi Butcher, Nick Whittle, Winston Kellman, Ewan Atkinson, Alison Chapman-Andrews and Eric Belgrave. Her current research-interest is in the impact of the transition from anti-colonial nationalism to post-colonial anti-nationalism on visual arts conversations in the Anglophone Caribbean.

beyond publishing caribbean logo-01

Beyond Publishing

For many people a comic book or graphic novel was one of the first fun, casual reading experiences, filled with various themes of heroics, bravado and thrill. They provide an imaginative escape from reality and may reinforce or shape cultural values through various themes.

Comics and animation have mostly been imported into the region, and as a result we have rarely seen the Caribbean experience or our own identity in this format. Although the group is relatively new, Beyond Publishing has made promising strides and has published 7 individual titles to date.

Beyond Publishing focuses on comics and graphic novels in digital or print media, showcasing stories with a Barbadian or Caribbean flavour through several genres: comedy, adventure, education and drama.

beyond publishing group

Beyond Publishing has won the following awards for their work:

  • 3rd place in 2012’s Automotive Arts Entrepreneurship Competition;
  • The series ‘Life and Death in Paradise’ has won two prizes from the Caribbean Advertising Federation Addy Awards: The Judges’ choice for WOW and a Gold Addy for Publication Design (Magazine or Book);
  • Offset #1 has won a 2015 Gold Addy for Publication Design (Magazine or Book) from the Caribbean Advertising Federation Addy Awards as well as a 2015 Glyph Award for Best Cover;
  • Hardears #1  has won two prizes from the Caribbean Advertising Federation Addy Awards: a Gold Addy for Book Design and another Gold Addy for Illustration.

FRESH MILK XVII Review

Kwame Slusher, writer and current team leader of Fresh Milk Books, shares a review of our final event for 2014, FRESH MILK XVII which took place on December 19. The event featured presentations by resident artists, overviews of past and upcoming projects & activities, and a potluck celebration dinner to close out our year. 

All photography by Dondré Trotman.

IMG_0016

…so we jewel the edges of his body

With shattered bottles, then bear him
to the foot of the casuarinas in order that his born
silhouette may freely flash and prance—

– Christian Campbell
Goodmans Bay II

The game described in Campbell’s poem, which he read at the event FRESH MILK XVII that took place on December 19, 2014, is known as Moon Shine Baby/Dolly—a traditional game played by children in the Caribbean and West Africa. One person is chosen or chooses to be the ‘baby/dolly’ and they lie down on the ground, while the other children outline the ‘baby/dolly’ with limestone and broken shards of glass. When the other children are finished, ‘baby/dolly’ gets up and their silhouette of found things would glitter in the moonlight. The game in Campbell’s poem is reminiscent of the Ancient Greek girl that wanted to preserve the memory of her lover who, after a time, had to return to his homeland. As the story goes, she made her lover stand still while she traced the outline of his shadow, then later, got her father to fill it in with clay. Inadvertently, like the game in Campbell’s poem, she not only created a space to remember someone by, but where something new can be developed.

FRESH MILK XVII was not just a space for the latest two resident artists to formally present on their work and experiences, but also an opportunity for members of the Fresh Milk platform to recount recent activities and to look to the future. In the wake of not having a National Art Gallery, Fresh Milk’s director Annalee Davis stated in her opening remarks that “…we live in an era necessarily of self-organization. Civil society must self-organize and build the spaces we want and need for ourselves.” Like the gathered bits of limestone and glass on the beach and the outline of the lost lover, Fresh Milk is  attempting to reimagine a historical space that fosters creativity.

The first presenter, Barbadian arts writer Natalie McGuire, spoke about the Transoceanic Visual Exchange, which is a project Fresh Milk is working on in conjunction with two other art communities: RM in New Zealand and Video Art Network (VAN) Lagos in Nigeria. McGuire said that the project was about upending traditional notions of geo-political space and cultural exchanges. The project is looking for submissions from filmmakers, video artists or artists that work between these spaces—those whose works don’t quite qualify to be shown in a gallery or in a cinema —to go about creating a digital sphere where these cultural exchanges can take place.

Barbadian visual artist and writer Katherine Kennedy then spoke about her experiences at Akadamie Schloss Solitude in Germany, where she had been selected to participate in the ResSupport Fellowship Programme offered by Res Artis on behalf of Fresh Milk from September 1st to December 1st. In her presentation, Kennedy looked at the different connections and encounters that she made with a diverse cross-section of people from around the world. In addition to the interconnection of ideas in a single space, she said that it was good to be able to find the familiar in an unfamiliar environment. She spoke about attending the opening of an exhibition in Memmingen, which focused on carnival, and seeing the work of Trinidadian visual artists Marlon Griffith and Barbadian visual artist Ewan Atkinson. Kennedy pointed out that what was interesting about the exhibition is while the theme was carnival, it was looking at both European and Caribbean depictions instead of just focusing on one locale.

In the second half of the evening, the two artists in residence – Toronto-Based, Bajan-Jamaican industrial designer and visual artist Kara Springer and Toronto-based, Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and cultural critic Christian Campbell – presented their work and what they had accomplished during the residency. Kara talked about her project, Repositioned Objects, which involved the building of 4x4x4ft wooden structures that create tension between the controlled and the uncontrollable. Kara, with the assistance of Christian, went around different points of the island installing the cubes and photographing them. In some cases the structures were left overnight, and in others she only had a short time to construct, photograph and break the structures back down again. What she did not expect was to not only have to deal with destructive natural elements, but also with people who went out of their way to destroy her structures. She was forced to then contend with the intersection of creation and destruction; the difficulty of trying to create order in a chaotic environment.

The final address was given by Christian Campbell, who began by speaking a little about the workshop he led titled ‘The Art of the Essay/The Essay on Art’. The workshop focused on ekphrasis, which has traditionally been a creatively written description on a visual work of art, however for the purposes of the workshop the definition was expanded to include any art form responding to another. Christian’s presentation, unlike the others, was really a series of readings. The first was Martin Carter’s Till I Collect to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Martin Carter’s death, which would have been on the second and last day of the critical writing workshops, held on December 13th. He also read Till I Collect because the last two lines of the poem, “till I collect my scattered skeleton/till I collect…” seemed to correlate with Jean Michel Basquiat’s X-Ray-like self portrait. Campbell read what he considered the ‘most important’ thing that he achieved during the residency, an essay on Jean Michel Basquiat, before adding to the selection with three poems from his own collection ‘Running the Dusk’: Goodmans Bay II, Curry Powder and Iguana. The last poem he read was one of his newer pieces, Names.

In his piece on Basquiat, Campbell read that the Haitian-American artist tried to collect everything, “…the way the Caribbean is the cross-cultural crossroads for the whole damn world”. In many ways that represents what art communities such as Fresh Milk, RM and VAN Lagos are and try to be with projects like the Transoceanic Visual Exchange; to create spaces with what is there, so that something new can develop. This makes it possible for artists like Katherine to go to places like Akadamie Schloss Solitude to work with and connect with other artists from all over the world.

After the presentations were over, and the rain that threatened to drown them had petered out, everyone gathered on the veranda to partake in the Christmas Potluck; to create a new space filled with the holiday spirit and hope for the New Year.

FRESH MILK XVI Review

Fresh Milk Books‘ Team Leader Amanda Haynes reviews our last public event FRESH MILK XVI. Read more below:

Photograph by Dondre Trotman

Photograph by Dondre Trotman

On Thursday June 26th, the Fresh Milk Art Platform hosted FRESH MILK XVI, the Barbados Launch of See Me Here: A Survey of Self Portraits from the Caribbean, edited by Melanie Archer and Mariel Brown of Robert and Christopher Publishers. Organised into a moderated panel discussion and an open Q & A, it was one of those rare times the second segment outran the first.

The event opened with a succinct presentation by visual artist Ronald Williams and my brief chat about Fresh Milk Books, before launching into the feature of the night: a conversation with See Me Here editor Melanie Archer and contributing Barbadian artists Ewan Atkinson, Annalee Davis, Joscelyn Gardner and Sheena Rose.

Skilfully moderated by Barbadian artist Russell Watson, dialogue revolved around the motivation and content of each artist’s unique self-portraiture, as well as the editors’ decision to compile an anthology with self-portraiture as its point of departure.

Annalee, Joscelyn, Ewan and Sheena’s responses were nuanced, embodying their personal expression of self and a distinct awareness of social identity as a political circumstance. In each case, their creative process reveals an understanding of this tension. For example, Joscelyn’s reflection on her work highlighted its ‘naïve’ perspective as she grappled to comprehend the complex racial and social climate of the Caribbean and being ‘white creole’. Similarly, Annalee shared her experience as being a white creole artist from Barbados, and the way in which Fresh Milk can be read as a self-portrait of this journey.

The more unapologetic, ‘socially vague’ visual art of Ewan and Sheena provoked especially provocative questions. As the discussion was opened to the audience, the question of self-portraiture as a zeitgeist of current Caribbean contemporary artists whirled into thoughtful questions and critically introspective answers. Major concerns expressed included the implications of this preoccupation with ‘self’ in today’s art practice, including the lack of a collective social agenda of current contemporary Caribbean art when compared to the socially oriented work of previous generations. Is this phenomenon indicative of an abandoning of ‘the national project’, or is it reflective of contemporary deconstructions of place as the root of one’s identity? How does this trend fit into the phenomenon of self-portraiture in general art history; is there a common social climate of these times?

In the context of contemporary mediated social media, the question of the performativity of art practice also raised poignant questions about the commodification of art, the role of the marketplace in the creative process, and criteria of authenticity: Who is the audience of this performance? How does this influence how, where and what we create? More importantly, what is the point of what we do? Should there be a point, anyway?

The mic was passed from artists, curators, scholars, students, men, women, the young, the older and the old. In a safe space for our perspectives to clash, clang and mingle, the night confirmed how much place does matter. In particular, the exchanges implied the radical potential of contemporary Caribbean art; more than ever before in the history of our region, we have the opportunity to create, control, consume and distribute perceptions of our visual and cultural identities. See Me Here signifies this moment—what comes next, we are not entirely sure.

Just after 9:30, Russell brought the lively conversation to a coherent close. Most of us stayed to mingle, purchase See Me Here, view the intimate exhibition and browse the CLRR. You wouldn’t guess that three hours before, FRESH MILK XVI was weary of the rain. Thankfully, Annalee and Katherine’s decision to host the night’s proceedings in the open space of the porch and lawn was magical. The atmosphere was relaxed and open, and the rain decided not to drench the projector or those of us sitting under the stars.

All photographs by Dondre Trotman 

FRESH MILK XIV: Tobias Ostrander’s Presentation

Chief curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Tobias Ostrander, giving his presentation. Photo by Dondré Trotman.

Chief curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Tobias Ostrander, giving his presentation. Photo by Dondré Trotman.

Fresh Milk invites you to view this four part documentation of the presentation by Chief Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, Tobias Ostrander, who spoke at our public event FRESH MILK XIV, which took place March 20, 2014.

Tobias addressed the new Miami museum’s design, current and upcoming exhibitions, and research and programming related to the Caribbean, including the upcoming presentation of the exhibition “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World.”

Tobias also discussed his interests in developing future collaborations with art institutions across the Caribbean region as part of his thinking on a “Strategic Regionalism” which seeks to create increased dialogue between the Southern United States, Caribbean basin and Central and South America.

Take a look at the videos below: