Fresh Milk welcomes Torika Bolatagici

Fresh Milk is very excited to welcome Australia-based, Pacific artist Torika Bolatagici to the platform. She will be in residence with us from June 6 – July 1, 2016.

Protect Me, Digital print on flex, 2010

Protect Me, Digital print on flex, 2010

Torika’s  interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationships between visual culture, human ecologies and contemporary Pacific identities. During her time in Barbados, Torika will be undertaking a research-based residency, largely involving engagement with local artists and conducting research in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room (CLRR). She is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to connect Caribbean and Pacific artists whose work might  intersect along lines of reflection on culture, identity, place and space within a postcolonial framework.

In 2013, Torika established an initiative called 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. Many of the texts deal with postcolonial art, literature and philosophy, visual culture, migration, citizenship and cultural identity. As well as spending time researching the collection in the CLRR, she will be investigating points of synergy and opportunities for collaboration and exchange between the two spaces.

Torika will give a public presentation at Fresh Milk about the work of Contemporary Pacific artists from Australia and New Zealand, as well as her own practice. Stay tuned for more details about the date & time for this event!



About 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.



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

Fresh Milk welcomes Rayanne Bushell and Nadijah Robinson to the platform

Fresh Milk is excited to welcome Rayanne Bushell and Nadijah Robinson to the platform as our next artists in residence from October 5 – 30, 2015.

Rayanne, who we first connected with in Glasgow while participating in the International Artist Initiated project in 2014, will be volunteering at Fresh Milk and working with our growing archive of images, while Nadijah, a Canadian artist of Barbadian heritage, will be reconnecting with her extended family to explore her roots and the notion of ‘home’ in Barbados through her artistic practice, including using mixed media collage and fabric work.


About Rayanne:

Rayanne Bushell is a Black British visual artist currently based in Glasgow. Bushell’s work uses photography, text and various printing techniques to reconstruct her family history, using this as a prism through which to investigate post-colonial identities, christianity and community. Research into the history of Black arts in Britain and the lack of representation of Black artists underpins Bushell’s practice; in November 2014 she founded Motherlands a zine for POC artists and writers and in August 2015 she started a pop-up POC Zine Library.

Motherlands was recently included in Visions of the Future: Women, Publishing & Autonomy, Islamic Human Rights Centre, London 2015. In 2015 Bushell collaborated with artist Isaac Kariuki on Shft+Ctrl+Save exploring how marginalised people utilise the internet and social medias as means of creating safe spaces and communities,Shft+Ctrl+Save was shown at Meta Gallery, Miami in May 2015.

Nadijah Robinson

About Nadijah:

Nadijah Robinson is an artist and educator based in Toronto, currently working in the media of Collage, Painting, Performance and Installation. She received her BFA from the University of Ottawa and a BEd from OISE University of Toronto. Working with skills developed from practices such as sewing, silkscreen printing, batik making, filmmaking, collage, painting, and graphic design, her work combines what is needed to construct a particular affecting image, object or experience. A refusal of the premise of a white canvas, or a blank slate, the use of found fabrics, images and other materials acknowledges that no thing comes from nothing. The history, cultural references, and sensory implications of the materials, and sources of the stories she tells all lend their particular significance to the larger artwork.

Nadijah Robinson’s work aims to reflect and archive the stories of communities in which she is strongly rooted, and which are not often represented in conventional art spaces. Through the practice of conducting interviews with community members, Nadijah is able to identify important themes, to highlight significant stories, and to learn directly from community members what they would like to see in artwork that presents itself as being for and about them.

Recent projects include a The Mourning Dress for Trans Black Women featured in Pride in Toronto 2015, a mural completed a mural as part of the Church Street Mural Project in preparation for World Pride 2014, and the curation of a photographic archive of Black musicians and entertainers from the 1930s-70s for the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. She has shown work with the Art Gallery of York University, Gladstone Hotel, Daniels Spectrum, with Nia Centre for the Arts, and as part of the Mayworks Festival for Working People and the Arts.

Thais Francis’ Residency – Week 4 Blog Post

Thais Francis shares her fourth and final blog post about her recently completed Fresh Milk residency. Looking back on her time in Barbados, Thais is happy with the the focus that having a dedicated, peaceful working environment has afforded her, as well as the work she was able to do with the children at Workmans Primary School, overall leading to a very productive and inspiring residency period. Read more from Thais below:


“I heard you on the radio, are you here in Barbados?”

When I saw those words, I felt sad – because the answer was no. I am no longer in Barbados, I am back in America, and maybe I missed my opportunity to sit with you and thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to a world of Caribbean literature, for introducing me to the Orishas and for being a pioneer. Who would have thought my NYU professor from 5 years ago would remember me and even find my email address? Who would’ve known he’d be listening to the radio right at the moment when I came on? He was the person who taught me how to look at words through an Afro-Caribbean point of view, thus shaping the person I am becoming. Kamau Brathwaite great writer and Barbadian, thank you. The next time I’m in Barbados you will not find out through the radio.


Had it not been for this residency, I would not have known my weaknesses. Have you ever had time to just sit and think? Sit under a tree, and read a book, or write in your journal, without any distractions? Thinking can be quite intense sometimes, but then it can be quite revelatory. You know how Stella went to Jamaica to get her groove back? It felt a little like that – thankfully I’m still young and I have not lost my groove, but I empathize with Stella. I got something in Barbados. I got the ability to fully see and carry on – even in the midst of not knowing. This is beginning to sound like a chapter from Eat Pray Love so I’ll be moving on with my point.


I have 136 pages of a screenplay. It may be good or it may be bad but I DID IT. I sat down and wrote, even when I was bored I continued, even when I wanted to go to the beach – I did it (sometimes I couldn’t resist the beach though). 136 pages later, I’m ready to continue. Writing a screenplay and seeing that into fruition on a screen seems like a never-ending process, but there is a skeleton, and writing in the studio really helped. Working with the children helped too. I figured I should share my gift. It’s fun to write for your own projects, but even better when you’re able to show kids that art is fun. Playing is fun. Dressing up, saying your name loudly, bowing when your classmates clap, imagining worlds and storytelling is fun. Life should be fun. I hope they learned as much from me as I did from them. I salute teachers. I salute Mrs. Bradshaw and Ms. Gatsby the principal of Workman’s and Annalee and the Fresh Milk team for making the space so aesthetically inviting.

All in all, it was a great experience. My quarter life identity crisis issues have somewhat abated, and now I must proceed. I’ll let you know when the movie comes out. Maybe I’ll have a screening in Barbados. Okay?

Open Call: FRESH MILK’s Primavera Residency

FMPrimavera arc

Although the later half of the year is filling up quickly, FRESH MILK still has space available between the months of March – May of our 2014 Primavera Residency period, and applications from artists worldwide are welcomed.

This residency aims to support visual artists and creatives by offering a peaceful working space for a minimum of 4 weeks, and the opportunity to interface with contemporary practitioners living and working in Barbados. For more information on the residency, application process and associated costs, please visit our International Residency Opportunity page.

The deadline for applications is February 28, 2014.

Marla Botterill & Conan Masterson’s Residency: Week 2 Report




East coast/West coast



There is a strong contrast between the night and the day here.  The contrast is not just one of light, though this contrast is severe.  In the day the sun is blazing, but the darkness falls early and quickly, cloaking the island in darkness.  Was there a moon the first week?  If there was, we didn’t see it.  The sounds and smells change; it is almost as if they are two entirely different places.  There is a mystery to this island; it is felt most keenly at night.  Perhaps we feel this contrast more being in the country and away from the lights and traffic of the city, but we feel that mystery, pulsing around us like the oceans and enveloping us in the darkness.

In conversations with the people here we’ve learned of the caves beneath us.  As fellow resident, Mathew Kupakwashe Murrell pointed out to us, the whole island is formed over limestone caves.  Is this a space where are puppet characters could come from?  Have they bubbled up from the dark, damp, mysterious caves beneath to the lush, sun-filled land above?  How long have they been here?  How have they evolved to live on this island?  They are taking on characteristics of the vegetation, animal, insect, bird and amphibian life above, but there is an unnerving quality to them, they come from that place of mystery.  In the past two weeks we have jointly created a small ensemble of puppet creatures that will continue to grow but now we must listen to them, hear their stories and take them out of the studio and allow them to explore this island where they come from.

We had our own chance to explore this week, we were taken on an island tour by Joscelyn Gardner, the love of her homeland is palpable and contagious.  A collector of stories herself, she shares a combination of local history and personal anecdotes with us.  The tour turned into a double-night sleepover at the family’s cottage on the Southeast coast, where we had a mini-vacation and also experienced the deluge of a tropical rainstorm.  The rain comes as quickly as the night, you fear it will never stop, but it can leave just as abruptly and replaced once again by the sun.  The rugged Atlantic coastal landscape is such a contrast to the manicured calm of the Caribbean west coast; Fresh Milk is conveniently located in the middle of these extremes, a rural, hilly centre point.  We want to take our puppets out into these contrasting landscapes.

The platform at Fresh Milk continues to be a hub of activity and a place of networking and interchange.  We are finding our days are becoming more productive as we begin to feel at home here. Though no matter how hard we try, we cannot wake up early enough to start the day as early as the Bajans do!  On May 16th FM hosted ‘A Performative Moment’ with Northern Kentucky University and we were happy to be included with the past and current residents of FM and to be given the opportunity to briefly present our individual and shared practice.  Even though Annalee and Katherine are both abroad, we feel very looked after by the people (and pets) of Barbados.  Winston Kellman dropped by FM one morning to return a book and see our progress so far.  We had an interesting discussion about Barbados, we focused around the night/day contrast and as he left, he wished us “many more sleepless nights.”