The Fresh Performance Project

The Fresh Performance Poster

FRESH MILK, in collaboration with New York-based Guyanese performance and video artist Damali Abrams, is excited to embark on the Fresh Performance Project, an experimental documentary highlighting contemporary performance artists in the Caribbean and New York City. Damali will engage in conversation with twelve performance artists, one Caribbean-based and one New York City-based artist per month, filming these discussions to create episodes or chapters which will be shared online. The first video will be aired at the end of April 2013, and will revolve around defining performance art.

This project aims to expand the cultural arena for both NY based and Caribbean based creatives, contributing to critical discourse around performance art by addressing topics such as gender and sexuality; power; love and romance; the role of the audience among other topics. Given that performance art in the Caribbean is practiced by a growing number of practitioners, this project will foster a stronger creative community, offering support to performance artists who often work in isolation, while increasing production in this medium. Archiving the conversations between the twelve participants increases awareness and documentation of the arts, and will hopefully lead to further opportunities and collaborative ventures.

One of the exceptional aspects of The Fresh Performance series is its reciprocal nature. Projects like this reverse the trend of Caribbean-based artists often wanting to find relevance for their work in a North American context; in this instance, the U.S. based artists are also keen to see how their work resonates within the Caribbean environment, creating a give-and-take relationship that is crucial to the growth of both cultures. The project will build cultural bridges between the U.S. and the Caribbean, and generate understanding and community through the arts.

The Caribbean-based participating artists are Ewan Atkinson, Shanika Grimes, Michelle Isava, Olivia McGilchrist, Sandra Vivas and Alberta Whittle, and the NYC based artists are Zachary Fabri, Maria Hupfield, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Seyhan Musaoglu, Shani Peters and Nyugen Smith.

Damali Abrams

Damali Abrams is a New York City-based artist working primarily in video. She received her BA at New York University and her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Damali was a 2009-10 A.I.R. Gallery fellowship recipient. Her work has been shown in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans, Denver, and Miami. In New York City, her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), A.I.R. Gallery, JCAL, Rush Arts Gallery and BRIC Rotunda Gallery, among others. Damali is a member of the women’s artist collective tART and one of the NYC coordinators for The Feminist Art Project.

Caribbean-Based Artists’ Bios

 Ewan Atkinson:

Ewan Atkinson

Ewan Atkinson was born in Barbados in 1975. He received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1998 and is currently pursuing an MA in Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.  He has exhibited in regional and international exhibitions of Caribbean contemporary art, including most recently the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, “Wrestling with the image: Caribbean Interventions” at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, and “Infinite Islands” at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.  Atkinson has taught in the BFA program at the Barbados Community College for over a decade. He also works as a freelance illustrator and designer.

Shanika Grimes:

Shanika Grimes

Shanika Grimes completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Barbados Community college, while juggling the birth of her now two year old son. She displayed a proficiency in the arts from a very young age despite the pull of the business oriented society in which she lives. Shanika works in a variety of two dimensional formats and has more recently extended her practice to the realm of performance art, which is documented and presented through video or photography. She focuses on an examination of self, which she uses as a catalyst for a barrage of ideas including, but not limited to, gender, culture and relationships.

Michelle Isava:

Michelle Isava

Michelle Isava (born 1985) holds dual nationality from Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. She is a conceptual artist who straddles across different mediums and genres to place the priority on message and experience. She experiments with drawing, painting, installation and video because she believes the message should decide the mode of expression. Her interests lie in the body as an object, and what it has the potential to reveal or betray about the subject.

Olivia McGilchrist:

Olivia McGilchrist

Born in Kingston (Jamaica) in 1981 to a French mother and a Jamaican father and educated in France and the U.K., Olivia McGilchrist moved back to Jamaica in 2011 after completing a Photography M.A. at the London College of Communication (2009-2010). Since this sudden return, her current practice has incorporated her body, remapping it within the tropical picturesque through photographic tableaux and multi-layered videos. She has indulged her alter-ego Whitey in her appropriation of this space of utter difference, Jamaica, by exploring trans-location and physical expressions of emotional states in the search for her cultural identity.

Sandra Vivas:

Sandra Vivas portrait - photo credit Stephi Leigh Davis

Photo credit Stephi Leigh Davis

Sandra Vivas was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1969 and is currently living in Dominica West. Sandra has developed a body of work that has performance as a permanent thread through her paintings and videos. Irony and humour play a fundamental role in her work and she is considered a feminist performance pioneer in Venezuela. From 1997-2008, Sandra taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, in the Undergrad and Graduate Programs of the Escuela de Artes, teaching Contemporary Art History. Sandra studied painting and ballet and has a Bachelors Degree in Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and a Masters Degree in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, California, USA.

Alberta Whittle:

Alberta Whittle

Alberta Whittle is a Barbadian artist, who graduated from the Masters programme at Glasgow School of Art in 2011. Whilst a student she participated in the exchange programme at Concordia University in Montreal. Since graduating, Whittle completed a commission for the Museum of London, where she presented an interactive installation, referring to migration and displacement. Whittle has undertaken numerous international residencies, including CESTA (Czech Republic), Market Gallery (Scotland), Fresh Milk (Barbados), Collective Gallery (Scotland) and Greatmore Studios (South Africa). She choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces, including at the Royal Scottish Academy and has exhibited in various solo and group shows in Europe, South Africa and the Caribbean. She is currently in Cape Town preparing for an exhibition at the Centre for African Studies and participating as a researcher at Joule City’s Artist Incubator Project, focusing on visual and aural culture.

NYC-Based Artists’ Bios:

Zachary Fabri:

Zachary Fabri

Zachary Fabri was born in Miami, Florida in 1977. His mother is Jamaican and his father is Hungarian. In 2007, he received his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in combined media. His work mines the intersection of personal and political spaces, often responding to a specific environment or context. Zachary’s work has been exhibited at Sequences Real-time Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; Nordic Biennale: Momentum, Moss, Norway; Gallery Open, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York; the Jersey City Museum, and El Museo del Barrio, New York, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. He is a recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art in 2011 and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in interdisciplinary work in 2012. Recent solo exhibitions include Third Streaming in New York City and Real Art Ways, in Hartford, Connecticut. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

Maria Hupfield:

Maria Hupfield portrait - photo credit Henry Chan

Photo credit Henry Chan

Maria Hupfield (born 1975) is from the Georgian Bay region Ontario, Canada and currently based in Brooklyn New York. She is of Anishnaabe (Ojibwa) heritage and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. Hupfield holds an MFA in sculpture from York University, Toronto. She recently participated in: A Conversation on Performance Art: Women Redrawing/Performance, organized by The Feminist Art Project at SOHO20 Chelsea NY; (2013) Wave Hill’s Winter Workspace Program, Glyndor Galley, Bronx, NY; and (2012) Artist Leadership Program, National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC. She has performed at ACCOLA GRIEFEN GALLERY, Chelsea NY, Grace Gallery, Brooklyn NY and (2012) 7a*11d International Performance Festival, Toronto ON. Hupfield’s work is currently in the traveling exhibitions Beat Nation and Changing Hands III.

Hupfield’s work was featured in the 2011 winter edition of Black Flash Magazine on performance photography and in the North Edition of Fuse Magazine winter for the collaborative artist project “From the Moon to the Belly” with Laakkuluk Williamson.

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow:

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow Portrait

Born in Manchester, Jamaica, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow is a multidisciplinary artist who received a BFA at University of Florida (New World School of the Arts) in 1996. In 2005 she attained an MFA from Hunter College, New York City. Her work has been exhibited and performed nationally and internationally at venues including Exit Art (NYC), Rush Arts Gallery (NYC), Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at SUNY Old Westbury College (NY), Scope Art Fair (FL), The Queens Museum of Art (NY), Third Streaming LLC (NY), Rush Arts Gallery (NYC),  Open Contemporary Art Center (Beijing, China), Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC), A.I.R. Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), SOHO 20 (NYC), MoCADA (Brooklyn, NY), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn, NY), ‘’Gwangju International Media & Performance Art Festival’’ at the Gwangju Bienalle (Gwangju, SOUTH KOREA) and Edna Manley College for Visual and Performing Arts (Kingston , JAMAICA). She is also a Rema Hort Mann award nominee and a 2012 NYFA Fellow in Interdisciplinary Art.

Through a feminine perspective Lyn-Kee-Chow uses allegories to navigate issues of the body, desire, and nature while weaving in humour, absurdity, and familiar objects. She lives and works in New York City.

Seyhan Musaoglu:

Seyhan Musaoglu portrait

Seyhan Musaoglu is a multi-media artist whose work spans the fields of live performance, sound art, film and video, and 2-D media. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources ranging from science fiction imagery, to fashion, to modern dance choreography, her work investigates the gap between sound production and music composition, contemporary feminist theory, and the history of avant-garde filmmaking. She has been performing widely with collaborations celebrated internationally in genres of sound and experimental noise. She is also an innovative independent curator, and is the founder of the sound, new media & peformance festival {SØNiK}Fest. Seyhan holds an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design. Some of the venues her work has been presented at are: The Kitchen (NYC), New York Studio Gallery (NYC), Lit Lounge (NYC), Curta 8 Film Festival (Brazil), and Istanbul’s famed venue, Babylon.

Shani Peters:

Shani Peters Portrait

Shani Peters is a New York based artist (born in Lansing, MI) working in video, collage, printmaking, and social practice public projects. Her work reflects interests in activism histories, cultural record keeping, media culture, and community building. Peters completed her B.A. at Michigan State University and her M.F.A. at The City College of New York. She has exhibited, screened and/or presented her work in the US and broad, including exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research, Bronx Museum of Art, Rush Arts Gallery, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Savannah College of Art & Design, The Contact Theatre (UK), and Seoul Art Space Geumcheon (SK).

She has participated in multiple residencies including programs hosted by The Center for Book Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Counsel, the Lower East Side Printshop, the Bronx Museum of Art’s Artist in the Marketplace program, and apexart’s Outbound Residency to Seoul S. Korea. Peters has taught extensively throughout her Harlem community as an educator and program designer working in New York Public Schools, Harlem Textile Works, Casita Maria Arts Education Inc., The Laundromat Project, and as a social justice arts education adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York.

Nyugen Smith:

Nyugen Smith Portrait

With a fearless approach, multi-media artist Nyugen Smith embraces the role of cultural informer and champion of social justice. Drawing heavily on his West Indian heritage, Smith is interested in raising consciousness of past and present political struggles through his work which consists of sculpture, installation, video and performance. Growing up in Trinidad, Smith was profoundly influenced by the conflation of African cultural practices and the residue of British colonial rule encountered in his daily life on the island. Responding to this unique cultural environment, Smith’s art is a reaction to imperialist practices of oppression, violence and ideological misnomers.

Announcement of FRESH MILK’s Local Resident Artists for 2013

FRESH MILK Local Resdiency Announcement

FRESH MILK is pleased to announce the selection of contemporary creatives taking part in its 2013 Local Residency Programme, sponsored by support received from the Arts and Sport Promotion Fund, Ministry of Finance, Barbados.

The residency programme was first launched in 2012, beginning with a short but successful 5 day local residency in March, and has since included projects with artists who have been based abroad, visiting from overseas and from other Caribbean islands.

The latest call for proposals was once again for local participants, and five artists working in a variety of media were selected for the available residency slots.

The creatives are:

  • Visual artist and animator Versia Harris;
  • Photographer Mark King;
  • Playwright and actor Matthew ‘Kupakwashe’ Murrell;
  • Filmmaker Cabral ‘LARC’ Trotman, who will be collaborating with spoken word artist Adrian Green.

The dates of these four-week long residencies are to be announced. The programme kicks off with Versia Harris, who is in residence from February 25th – March 22nd prior to embarking on her international residency at the Vermont Studio Center, USA in late March.

About the Artists:

Versia Harris

Versia Harris

Versia Harris is a Barbadian artist living and working in Weston, St. James. She graduated from the Barbados Community College BFA in Studio Art programme in 2012, with an award from The Leslie’s Legacy Foundation for the most promising student, and will be taking up a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in March 2013. She created a narrative of an original character to address the perceptions of self, as it compares its image with unrealistic standards. Her primary media includes pen and watercolour on paper. She also uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate her drawings and create animations.

Website: http://versiaabeda.tumblr.com/

Mark King

Mark King

Mark King is a Barbados-based photographer. In 2011, he participated in a screenprinting artist in residency at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium. In the same year he was selected by Lucie Foundation for their E-pprentice program and paired with acclaimed photographer Roger Erickson for a six-month apprenticeship. Mark recently was artist in residence at Alice Yard  in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Mark has called Barbados, The Bahamas, Brussels, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. home. His international experience directly informs his projects. As a constant outsider, Mark’s work examines the people he encounters during his travels as well as his relationship with an ever-changing environment.

Website: www.markkingismarkings.com

Matthew 'Kupakwashe' Murrell

Matthew ‘Kupakwashe’ Murrell

Matthew ‘Kupakwashe’ Murrell is an actor, playwright, director and poet with special skills in film, photography and singing. He has successfully completed his BA in Fine Arts, with a special in theatre arts and a minor in film. His first national play debut ‘Precious’ came in 2005, written by Sir. Hilary Beckles and directed by C.M. Harclyde Walcott. He has done several plays such as ‘Yellowman’ directed by full bright scholar, Meredith Coleman Tobias, ‘Dutchman’ directed by famed Nigerian director, Dr. Esiaba Irobi, ‘Odale’s Choice’ directed by Sonia Williams, and ‘Looking Back at Sodom’ directed by Winston Farrell, amongst many others.

 In addition to winning several awards regionally and locally, Matthew is also the founder of emerging Barbadian group Yardie Boy Theatre, which is dedicated to showcasing Barbadian/Caribbean stories. Their works are focused on social and political issues, and seek to be the voice of a generation.

Yardie Boy Theatre’s Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/backyardtheatre

Cabral 'LARC' Trotman

Cabral ‘LARC’ Trotman

Born in Toronto Canada to Barbadian parents, LARC as he’s affectionately known to most is a filmmaker, arts educator and community activist. After the year of the gun in Toronto (2005) LARC decided that it was critical to play a small role in creating safe spaces where young people could acquire skills while discovering positive outlets of expression. He started by designing and facilitating filmmaking workshops in low-income, inner-city communities where he began to link many of the current issues faced by youth to a lack of leadership/mentorship in the community. He also noticed a real lack of ancestral/family values and connections with the many gang related black youth he worked with daily. His community work intensified, spreading out to various public housing communities across Toronto from Community Centers to Elementary, Middle School to High Schools.

LARC is developing a feature documentary entitled Hidden Bruises: HIV & Violence in the Caribbean, a documentary and awareness campaign contributing to the national and regional effort to reduce the prevalence of both HIV & violence against women in the Caribbean.

He continues his arts education and filmmaking work in the Caribbean at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados; coupled with his independent company Skylarc Pictures through the First Light Project Arts Education program.

Adrian Green

Adrian Green

Adrian Green is a Gold Award winner in Barbados’ National Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), a three time Barbadian Slam Poetry Champion, and two time winner of the Emancipation Roots Experience Show. Green represented Barbados at CARIFESTA X in Guyana and has performed to audiences in several countries, including the USA, Ghana, Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica, Nevis, St. Thomas and Tortola. He has released two albums of poetry, “Random Acts of Conscience,” and “Hard Ears.”

As the co-founder of Iron Sharpen Iron, Green has been instrumental in producing the longest running and most successful open-mic show in Barbados.  These open-mic shows were designed to help emerging performing artists develop and have been instrumental in the uncovering and propelling of a number of young artists to the national stage.

FRESH MILK X

Video shot and edited by Sammy Davis

FRESH MILK X was held this past Sunday, February 3rd 2013, featuring our most recent resident artist, Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe showcasing her new film created during her residency, with a guest performance by Yardie Boy Theatre’s Kupakwashe and actor/director Russell Watson.

Malaika’s film titled ‘Off Track, Moving Forward,’ was a collaboration with Barbadian actor and Managing Director of Mustardseed Productions Varia Williams, and delves into the whirlwind of non-stop thoughts that everyone copes with in daily life, and the possibilities of allowing ourselves to just ‘be’:

Within the context of a global culture of “progress,” this video piece (4:30 sec) poses questions about our internal landscapes, as we navigate this rushing stream of forward motion. In the midst of it all, we often find ourselves spinning in whirlpools of our own thinking: caught up in our past experiences and our potential future ones. What are the repercussions of denying ourselves the opportunity to cultivate a sense of completeness? How do we find satisfaction within the smallest moment, before running off on a trail of other thoughts?

 We are ‘doing’ all the time, often even when we think we are not. We are constantly consuming materials, ideas, other people and their perceptions, with a skilful ease. So ‘connected’ that it becomes easy to confuse solitude with loneliness or boredom. Even in the company of others we often fall under the deadening weight of our doubts, fear and anxiety. We keep ourselves occupied, thinking, but as we feel the familiar murkiness of negativity, what happens when we allow ourselves to pause, become aware and just sit with whatever arises… What are the possibilities then?Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe

Yardie Boy Theatre presented an excerpt from the play ‘Prisoner,’ also written by Kupakwashe:

Set in prison, John a convicted murderer is on death row being guarded by his older and unforgiving brother Winslow. A 25 minute play full of intensity, graphic in nature and volatile in words. Prisoner is a socio-political play that rides on the themes of ‘big brother is watching’ and ‘being a brother’s keeper.’

There were Q&A sessions held with all of the evening’s participants. As always, it was a pleasure for Fresh Milk to make new connections, and we will miss having Malaika’s presence and energy in the studio – but FRESH MILK X provided a fitting send off!

All Photographs © Dondré Trotman http://www.dondretrotman.com/

FRESH MILK X

FM X flyer

FRESH MILK X will be held on Sunday, February 3rd 2013, 5:30-7:00pm at the Milking Parlour Studio, St. George (see our About page for directions).

Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe: Final Talk and Screening

Still shots from Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe's filming

Taking the platform at FRESH MILK X is Grenadian artist Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe, Fresh Milk’s current artist in residence. She will be screening her new short film featuring Barbadian actor and Managing Director of Mustardseed Productions Varia Williams (above).

Malaika’s Concept:

This short film will paint a portrait of a woman in her late twenties/thirties and her navigation, not so much through her life, but through her thoughts about her life.  It will be an intimate meandering through the disjointed waters of her daily internal dialogue. As Stuart Hall has written, the past “…is always constructed through memory, fantasy, narrative and myth.” The site of this interpretation of our past experiences, and those of the people around us, is always located in the present. So, our moments of “now” are constantly occupied with reinterpretations and reshuffling of our past in relation to what we are encountering anew. This film seeks to explore the complex and ever fluctuating relationships that we have with our experiences and the sense of being/ego that is built around these experiences. What snippets of society/family/relationships run through our daily thoughts? What perceptions of our past, and potential future, blur our experiencing of our present moments? How do we find a balance between a blur and a necessary reflection/planning? Can we clear space and opt for neither, for just a moment of experience without constant interpretation?

Yardie Boy Theatre Presents: Prisoner

yardie prisoner

FRESH MILK X will also feature a reading of an excerpt from the play ‘PRISONER’, written by Kupakwashe, Barbadian actor and founder of Yardie Boy Theatre, and performed by Kupakwashe and Barbadian actor/director Russell Watson.

 About Prisoner:

Set in prison, John a convicted murderer is on death row being guarded by his older and unforgiving brother Winslow. A 25 minute play full of intensity, graphic in nature and volatile in words. Prisoner is a socio-political play that rides on the themes of ‘big brother is watching’ and ‘being a brother’s keeper’.

About Yardie Boy Theatre:

Yardie Boy Theatre is a young emerging theatre group dedicating to showcasing Barbadian/Caribbean stories through the medium of theatre. Their works are very social and political and seeks to be the voice of a generation.

NB: This performance contains content of an adult nature and is not suitable for children.

There will be a talk held after the performance and screening with all the participants, where they will engage in conversation about the work and take questions from the audience. Event is free and open to the public.