Intervention IBB Magazine shares Tilting Axis

Instituto Buena Bista (IBB), Curacao shares an article through their Intervention IBB Magazine about the 2015 Tilting Axis conference, which took place on February 27-28 and brought together a number of contemporary arts initiatives from around the Caribbean along with a few international entities to devise an action plan for advancing the region’s creative sector. Read an excerpt from IBB co-founders Tirzo Martha and David Bade below:


First impression

David: To be honest, at first I had a prejudice of what the conference was going to be. Because of my past experiences, I grew accustomed to the fact that most of the time there was a lot of talking, less actions and very few tangible results. But within this short time of 2 days, this was not the case at all. The whole approach and the focus was to come to concrete and clear results. I think this was a good thing and I am positive about this. We had to take steps to get somewhere. They gave us cases we had to work on and present and come up with some real proposals. “Collaboration” and “exchange” are all very nice funding words, but they have been used so much that now they’re becoming empty words. I have every confidence that something will happen this time around.

Tirzo: Two things I find very important about the Tilting Axis conference:

The old guard and the usual faces were absent, and there was fresh blood there. That was refreshing, to have that fresh blood who are open to new ways, perspectives and visions. Another thing I found interesting was that it wasn’t about the artist as individual but about art itself. About the society, the added value of art for the society and how you can contribute to the development of art education and formation through social cultural art projects.

David: we sat in work groups or sub groups and got the questions: Are we just here to meet each other or will we do something from now on? They proposed to me too, now that next year we will have existed for 10 years, to let our art collection travel within the Caribbean region. Now our network has expanded with these new people, the idea to have our art travel in the region visiting all the different art platforms sounds very appealing.

Tirzo: Collaboration is not necessarily in one form only. It can also be to assist or to support. For example: a lot of art initiatives say they have a lack of financial means. They don’t have money for a website for example. To let some company make a website can costs thousands of dollars, but if for example we at IBB can make a website for another art initiative we can support each other in this way. We can exchange our services, knowledge and capacities to one another, as everyone is good at one thing. It’s much cheaper and by doing this we can also generate funds.

It was of great satisfaction to meet and speak with people from the French speaking islands, Martinique, and also to acknowledge the presence of a representative from the Dominican Republic.

Read the full article on Intervention IBB Magazine here.

Tilting Axis: Game-Changing Regional Art Conference on Sustainability in Caribbean Visual Arts held in Barbados

Participants of the Tilting Axis 2015 conference. All photographs by Sammy Davis.

Participants of the Tilting Axis 2015 conference. All photographs by Sammy Davis.

The visual arts conference, ‘Tilting Axis: Within and Beyond the Caribbean – Shifting Models of Sustainability and Connectivity‘, was held in Barbados on February 27-28, 2015 and was dedicated to forging infrastructure between several independent art organisations and museums operating across the Caribbean, U.S., E.U., and China. The conference is a game-changing development for sustainable economic development in regional visual art.

The two-day conference brought together the diverse leaders of these visual art development organisations to negotiate strategic regional and international alliances for the formalisation and further development of infrastructure, production and markets for Caribbean art.

The conference was organized by The Fresh Milk Art Platform, Inc., where the event was held, in collaboration with ARC Magazine, Res Artis and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Tilting Axis was supported by the Arts and Sport Promotion Fund Committee (Barbados), the Davidoff Art Initiative, the British Council and the Prince Claus Fund.

Among the more than thirty invited participants were Annalee Davis, Founding Director of The Fresh Milk Art Platform (Barbados); Holly Bynoe, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of ARC Magazine (St. Vincent & the Grenadines); Tobias Ostrander, Chief Curator, and Maria Elena Ortiz, Assistant Curator, of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (USA); Mario A. Caro, President of Res Artis (Amsterdam); David Codling, Director Arts, Americas, British Council (Colombia); Natalie Urquhart, Director of the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands; Amanda Coulson, Director of art fair VOLTA NY and Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; Deborah Anzinger, Artist and Director of Kingston-based visual art initiative NLS (Jamaica); Nicholas Laughlin, Co-founder of Trinidad and Tobago-based backyard space, Alice Yard; David Bade and Tirzo Martha, Co-directors of Instituto Buena Bista (Curaçao); Elvis López, Director of Ateliers ‘89 (Aruba); Remco De Blaaij, Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Art (Glasgow); Max Slaven and Ellie Royle, Co-Directors of the David Dale Gallery & Studios (Glasgow); Jessica Carden, Co-founder of Mother Tongue (Glasgow); Solange Farkas, Director of Videobrasil (Brazil); N’Goné Fall, Independent Curator and Co-Founder of GawLab (Senegal); Raquel Paiewonsky, Co-founder of the artist collective Quintapata (Dominican Republic); Kira Simon-Kennedy, Co-founder China Residencies (USA/China); Malaika Brooks-Smith Lowe, Co-founder and Director of Groundation Grenada, Marsha Pearce, Senior Editor of ARC Magazine (Trinidad); Caryl* Ivrisse Crochemar, Director of 14°N 61°W (Martinique). And from Barbados participants included Janice Whittle, curator of Queens Park Gallery and representative of the National Cultural Foundation; Therese Hadchity, Art Historian; Joscelyn Gardner, Artist; Llanor Alleyne, Artist and Writer; Katherine Kennedy, Artist and Directors’ Assistant at ARC and Fresh Milk; Versia Harris, Artist and Fresh Milk volunteer; Sammy Davis, Fresh Milk volunteer and Tonika Sealy, Independent Cultural Producer.

L-R: Mario A. Caro (President of Res Artis), Annalee Davis (Founding Director of Fresh Milk), Tobias Ostrander (Chief Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami) and Holly Bynoe (Co-founder & Editor-in-chief of ARC Magazine).

L-R: Mario A. Caro (President of Res Artis), Annalee Davis (Founding Director of Fresh Milk), Tobias Ostrander (Chief Curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami) and Holly Bynoe (Co-founder & Editor-in-chief of ARC Magazine).

According to co-organisers Holly Bynoe and Annalee Davis, the conference seeks to create opportunities for visual artists living in the Caribbean and provide professional and economic development in the region through formal collaborations between key art organisations and foundations across the Caribbean and beyond. The conference also aims to build and redefine relationships around cultural exchange between the Global North and the Global South.

“It is not just about contemporary art. One of the tasks we have undertaken at the Pérez Art Museum Miami is the building of Caribbean art histories in the consciousness of the American public. We see the Pérez Art Museum as strategically placed to undertake this,” stated Tobias Ostrander.

From the conference, a strategic action plan for continued collaboration was developed after a reflection on the two-day discussion.

“In creating markets for contemporary art in the Caribbean, we are developing the ecosystem and all the underlying components that drive that market: The environment for artists to make great work; art writers, researchers and funders to help make that work accessible to the public; international museums and galleries to show the work; advisors and dealers to get the work placed in collections. Shared programming, exchanges, and educational initiatives developed between the institutions present addressed these key components,” stated Deborah Anzinger.

Tilting Axis 2015

Tilting Axis 2015

One of the mandates issued to the participants of the Tilting Axis conference is to tighten strategic networks in their home countries. The organisers of the conference also expect to expand the invited participant list for the next meeting which will take place in 2016.

Annalee Davis stated in her welcome address that “Many of us working in the region have been speaking with one another, in some cases for many years, but today is the first time that artist-led initiatives have come together from the Dutch, Spanish, French and English territories to meet physically in the Caribbean. It is critical that this gathering is taking place on Caribbean soil, and that we consider the visual arts sector from within the archipelago as a counterpoint to the many decisions that have been and are often made about the region externally.”

Mario A. Caro expressed his enthusiasm for the collaborations to be developed between members of Res Artis, a worldwide network of art residencies, and organizations in the Caribbean. “It is clear that the cultural sector in the Caribbean is undergoing exciting and, at times, dynamic changes, and many of these have to do with relationships being established with new partners around the globe. The increase in the mobility of artists through art residencies, both into and out of the region, is one critical factor.”

Holly Bynoe echoed positivism: “The meeting of professionals who are actively engaging and challenging collaborative strategies acknowledges the changes rippling across the Caribbean, and reaffirms the critical value of innovative emerging networks. As more eyes are turning to look at this space, we need to be cognisant of what they are seeing, and consider how and what we want them to experience. Tilting Axis aspires to become a conduit; supporting the professionalisation of artists and formalising engagements, leading to greater visibility and accessibility of contemporary Caribbean art.”

Tilting Axis 2015

Tilting Axis 2015

Barbados Exchange Retrospect – Kristel Rigaud

Kristel Rigaud, a student of the Instituto Buena Bista (IBB), Curaçao, shares a blog report about her time in Barbados where she, IBB co-founders Tirzo Martha and Davis Bade and two other students, Dominic Schmetz and Rashid Pieter, were invited by the Fresh Milk Art Platform as part of a collaborative exchange program between the two institutions. Read more below:

Tirzo Martha, David Bade, Russell Watson, Dominic Schmetz, Erik Habets, Kristel Rigaud and Rashid Pieter visiting Rusell Watson's studio in Barbados.

Tirzo Martha, David Bade, Russell Watson, Dominic Schmetz, Erik Habets, Kristel Rigaud and Rashid Pieter visiting Rusell Watson’s studio in Barbados.

This project for me was from day one was already amazing. Before even arriving in Barbados, we had to wait for our 5 hour layover to be over at Trinidadian airport we had a minute to check outside of the terminal, seeing all those hills was refreshing and the place had a similar island feel but was still different. Then it was time for us to head to Barbados, we ran into a bit of trouble before entering the plane, ’cause of some mix up with Dominic’s name or should I say Gerardus! He wasn’t allowed to board with his ticket, thankfully that was eventually cleared up.

When we arrived at Barbados we were welcomed by Annalee Davis, she’s the director of Fresh Milk and the person that would be showing us the Bajan art scene. What immediately caught my eye was that the steering wheel of all the cars were on the right side, which is an obvious sign of the island’s British colonial past. We had a delicious supper at a place called Just Grillen. Then Annalee showed us where we’d be staying for the week, David, Tirzo and Erik stayed at the Blue Horizon hotel and us students stayed in an flat on her family’s land in St. George.

Monday November 26th
The next day we finally got to see where we were since it was pretty late when we arrived the night before, we were surrounded by green, horses,cows and kittens. I actually even got bitten awake by one of those adorable kittens, free “alarm clock”.

After eating some toast we got picked up by Annalee go meet up with David, Tirzo and Erik so we could head to BCC to check out the fine arts department. That took longer then expected since the confident trio got lost, so we had to go pick them up somewhere in Bridgetown. After that we headed to the BCC campus and met up with the 2nd and 3rd year students and viewed their work for the next few hours. Then we headed with Annalee to this kind of rastafarian themed vegan place with Allison Thompson(Head of Arts Division), very spicy food, but tasty. Afterwards we headed to Fresh Milk Studio which is located on a dairy farm, the oh so green location and the wooden building was mesmerizing with the background “music” combination of a wind chime, birds and cow moo’s. There we met the resident artist Alberta Whittle, two BCC Fine Arts graduates and Holly Bynoe who gave us a masterclass at IBB a week before was busy interviewing on the grounds. Then we came up with the brilliant plan to go to he beach at 5, but got a bit lost and stuck in traffic.So we ended up swimming at Blue Horizon, which was chill. When we were done we got supper at the place we at when we arrived the night, Just Grillin’.

Tuesday November 27th
The next morning we were all paired up with one of the artist to do a workshop with the students at BCC. I was placed with David, Dominc with Erik and Rashid with Tirzo. David’s workshop was a mural with the 1st and 2nd year students. The theme of it was Mother, since it was David’s mother’s birthday and also happened to be my mother’s too. The students had to first sketch for 10 minutes their idea for that theme and then had to leave that sketchbooks behind and start working! Everyone was really into it, but I must say when it started raining and all the paint started dripping down people truly let go and it resulted into an insane mural in my opinion.

Afterwards we ate some great rotti with Annalee and went to visit Russel Watson’s studio, he’s a multimedia artist. He showed us some of his photography, told us about his latest feature movie and how him studying in Jamaica and then eventually in the States impacted his view of things. Afterwards we went to visit the artist Allison Chapman-Andrew’s studio. Her studio was filled with art of herself and other artist’s from the island. She had so much work to look at and her sketchbooks dating back to the 70′s pretty much tells her life story.

That night we had dinner at Mojo’s with visual artist and Fresh Milk board member, Ewan Atkinson and the artist Mark King.

Wednesday November 28th 
In the morning IBB and the Fresh Milk had a conversation about moving forward. How to allow Caribbean artist to sustain themselves with their profession and how to make the Caribbean art scene noticeable to the world, our region gets overlooked too often. Then we looked at the works of Katherine Kennedy and Alberta Whittle. The latter was currently doing a residency at Fresh Milk and told us about a performance art that she was going to do the next night at the “Fresh Milk IX”.

Our lunch that day was catered by one of the best cooks of the island, Anna Went. The food was delicious.

Last up for that day was a visit to artist Nick Whittle’s studio in St. Philip. His life dedication to art also truly inspired me. He recited us a poem of his called “The Colonial Legacy”, which when he was done only thing we could do was thank him for sharing his mind, for being an artist.

Thursday November 29th
We viewed the works from two former BCC students, Versia Harris and Janelle Griffith who both had some insane short films. Versia’s short films were completely animated with drawings that she made with her clear fascination with Disney cartoons which had an interesting contrast. Janelle’s short films showed her love for the Jewish culture. We also viewed the works from photographer, Mark King. He had an unique way of shooting people, kind of story like.

Then we grabbed lunch at the famous Chefette’s we had heard so much about. An interesting fact about Barbados is that unlike most of the world they don’t have Mac Donalds. There was one, but the locals simply preferred their own fast food chain and I can understand why! They don’t just sell the usual fries and hamburgers, but also rotti,pizza, chicken and a whole lot more.

We headed back to Fresh Milk and then me and Tirzo got picked up by Holly Bynoe to go to the place she was staying. She and Nadia Huggins are busy producing a film on artists from the region, and wanted to interview us all. Holly interviewed and Nadia filmed, they started with Mr. T. I learned a lot about him through watching this interview happen,like I had no clue that he studied fashion! The interview took pretty long so they decided that it would be better for me to get interviewed the next day with Dominic and Rashid, Thank god! I don’t have enough experience art wise to be able to speak that long, I’ve only been doing it seriously now for about a year and a half.

That night there was the Fresh Milk IX event, there was art work every where from emerging Bajan artists. The night started off with Alberta Whittle’s performance art called’Hustle de Money’ , it explored the social construction of identity as defined through race, gender and sexuality. After that IBB had a presentation, David and Tirzo talked a bit about what IBB exactly is and then us, the tree students had to show some of our own recent work and it ended with Erik showing his artworks.

Friday November 30th
In the morning we went to Fresh Milk to finally view Annalee’s artwork, we had viewed and discussed so much art but still hadn’t seen hers. Then we got interviewed by Holly and Nadia. This day happened to also be Barbados’s independence day, they’ve been independent from the United Kingdom since 1966.

We had the rest of the day off so we drove around and ended up on a beach, where a surf competition was being held. I love this island’s landscape its so diverse from huge cane fields to rainforest-like parts, it really felt like a tropical island compared to Curacao’s sometimes extreme heat and flatness. That night we ate at a sushi restaurant, the food was delicious!

Saturday December 1st
We got picked up by Holly to have breakfast with her and Nadia at their place and then headed to the beach to swim for a little while. Then Erik and Marijn popped up and we ended up actually still seeing a bit more of the island and Bridgetown. The architecture of the buildings there are beautiful, there was a nice contrast with brightly colored building with clear British influenced castlelike buildings.

That night we went to mojo’s again to grab some supper, but since it took forever we never minded it and ended up eating somewhere else.
When we got back to the apartment I still needed to pack, which “surprisingly” took a while.

Sunday December 2nd
Luckily we all still managed to get a bit of sleep before we got picked up at 5am to go to the airport.
The flight back to Trinidad was great, we could finally really see how it’s landscape looked like since it was night the last time we flew over it, it was so green. All the greenness of these islands really mesmerized me, besides it being my favorite color I’ve never seen so much of it in my life.

This trip has really opened my eyes, it made actually want to come back to Curacao after I’m done studying in Holland. It made see that I have to come back. The Caribbean art scene gets so easily overlooked and if we keep fleeing to other countries we’d just be making those art scene’s stronger instead of our own. Before going to Barbados it seemed so small and insignificant, besides the art I’d see at IBB I’d only see super commercial tourist directed art which I’m pretty sure my art will never categorize under. That’s why I’m truly thankful for this whole experience if it wasn’t for IBB,Fresh Milk and all the amazing people we met during our stay there, I doubt I’d be so confident about truly making art my life.

Read the original blog on the Instituto Buena Bista website.

IBB Workshops at BCC with Tirzo Martha and Erik Habets

Last Tuesday November 27th, members of the visiting team from the Instituto Buena Bista (IBB) led a series of workshops with the Art Associate Degree students at the Barbados Community College (BCC) as part of Fresh Milk’s collaborative programme with them. The students were very enthusiastic and engaged fully with the team – take a look at some of the results from the sessions with Tirzo Martha and Erik Habets!

FRESH MILK IX – Thursday November 29th at 7:00 pm

Kick-start your Independence weekend this Thursday by joining us at the Milking Parlour Studio forFRESH MILK IX, where we welcome the team from the IBB in Curaçao, consisting of co-foundersDavid Bade and Tirzo Martha, visiting Dutch artist Erik Habets, and three IBB students to the platform with a full night of showcasing talent.

Hustle de Money
7:30 pm

Our current artist in residence Alberta Whittle will perform ‘Hustle de Money –  a Performance by Bertie aka Big Red aka General outta Glitter Zone’ which explores the social construction of identity as defined through race, gender and sexuality.

Click on the image above to visit Alberta’s blog.

Presentation by the IBB Team
8:00 – 9:00 pm

The IBB Team will give a presentation, introcucing the organization, speaking about its role in Curaçao and by extension Caribbean society, as well as students Dominic SchmetzKristel Rigaud and Rashid Pieter speaking about their own practices. Visit the IBB website for more information.

FRESH Art Exhibition and Sale

Exhibited all night in the Studio, we have the work of young artists Alicia Alleyne, Evan Avery, Tracey Chan, Shanika Grimes, Versia Harris, Katherine Kennedy and Rodell Warner on sale.

With Independence Day and the Christmas season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to celebrate local and regional talent by buying some unique artwork – whether it’s for yourself or someone else, this sale is thegift that keeps on giving, as you contribute to our culture and community by supporting upcoming artists.