Caribbean Linked II Artist Blogs: Veronica Dorsett

Bahamian artist, Veronica Dorsett writes about her experience during the Caribbean Linked II residency programme at Ateliers ’89, Aruba. Dorsett reflects on moments of anticipation and how her hopes for moving forward in her work were propelled to a new level during the residency. Her intimate connection to the resident artists, the Aruban landscape and culture provoked an awakening in her that she didn’t foresee. Learn more about Caribbean Linked and Dorsett’s awakening here.

Veronica Dorsett in Aruba. Photographs courtesy of Shirley Rufin and Omar Kuwas.

Veronica Dorsett in Aruba. Photographs courtesy of Shirley Rufin and Omar Kuwas.

Dear Aruba…
As we close our eyes at night, the conscious or subconscious hopes of a sweet dream are as defined as the hazy nothingness most of us conjure up. We dabble in thought before drifting off and most times with no real focus on any one thing we create a beautiful myriad of fragmented images. These images then cluster together delving us into a dreamlike state where, if you’re lucky, you’ll find Elvis Lopez, a couple of Arubans with a botched pick-up truck named ‘the Bronco’, 7 strangers, a couple of wine bottles – well, maybe more than a couple – and an empty art gallery begging to be filled. Yup, for me, being in Aruba simply felt like an extended dream that I quite honestly wish lasted just a little bit longer.

As my plane landed on this Happy Little Island, I quickly wrote down a few random thoughts and they were along the lines of the following:

Veronica’s notes.

Veronica’s notes.

I think it’s safe to say that by the end of that note, my dream had begun.

Arriving on the island from a ‘tourists’’ perspective was one thing, but experiencing “Aruba” for what it truly is with the local resident artists (Robin De Vogel, Germille Geerman and Kevin Schuit) was unforgettable. Seeing the raw beauty of the island allowed each of the visiting artists to find direct comparisons to “home”; and yet in the same breath, allowed us to uncover the distinct differences that exists between our islands.

Throughout the residency, as the baby of the group, I found myself very aware of my own personal search for my ‘style’ or my ‘tool’ as a budding artist. This residency became a major stepping stone in my career as I battled through uncertainty and sheer confusion for seven days straight. My lack of focus and frustration with my inability to even ‘create’ a focal point from everything Aruba had to offer brought me to a low where I simply felt defeated. Fortunately, I was able to talk to the other artists around me and draw from them their perspectives and words of advice to help me find my way. The short talks I had with each of them allowed me to accept my “lack of focus” as my “focal point” by taking all these ideas and experiences and combining them into a simple form that I could engage with – a black hole with a few ‘strings attached’. This form allowed me to create an answer to all my questions and combining it with random objects I had found as I walked through Aruba along with magazine cutouts pushed me into a realm of ‘organized clutter’.

Veronica’s work- Focus for Caribbean Linked.

Veronica’s work – Focus for Caribbean Linked.

The studio visits to local artists Ciro Abath, Osaira Muyale and Glenda Heyliger were crucial to my process during as well as after this residency at Atelier89. I keenly remember the sketches and models from Ciro’s studio along with the “all blue everything” sculpture’s at Osaira’s studio; both of which tapped into a sculptural craving I had somehow I forgotten I had. Seeing their work once again forced me to question whether I was using the right ‘tool’ or medium to create my work. And ‘Oh, Glenda’, who could forget Glenda? She definitely impacted me on an emotional level and boosted my confidence as she urged me to not be afraid of releasing my fears and most honest opinions within my work.

Veronica’s Collages from Focus for Caribbean Linked.

Veronica’s Collages from Focus for Caribbean Linked.

The dreamlike state that I continually found myself in was only encouraged by the drama free environment we all shared. It all came together in a magical way where we enjoyed one another’s company and made the most out of each day. Much of the nightlife was quite similar to home for me with one of my favorites being our night at ‘Don Pincho’ where we had either chicken, shrimp or mixed ‘pincho’s’ or what we like to call in the Bahamas “shish kabobs”. After that bellyful, we then danced the night away or at least everyone else danced while Mark King (Barbados) and I were attempting to master the ‘Bachata’ with the help of Omar Kuwas and Shirley Rufin who was our dancing queen of the night!

Veronica installing work for Caribbean Linked II

Veronica installing work for Caribbean Linked II

Another ‘exciting’ memory was made when a random dog charged at me as we were heading to a restaurant for dinner and I ever so “gracefully” (as Rodell Warner from Trinidad put it) leapt into Omar Kuwas’ (Curacao) arms out of complete and utter fear. Thankfully, the dog retreated and no one (except for Omar’s back) was hurt. In light of the moment we were given the nicknames “Shaggy and Scooby” and it became one of those classic moments that were unfortunately not caught on camera!

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Resident artists at Don Pincho

I can honestly say that this residency in Aruba has not only catapulted my thinking in a new direction but it has inspired me to share my practice more openly within my own community. For me, the concept alone of linking a group of people who all share a commonality through the Caribbean region and diaspora is an amazing opportunity that should be seized time and time again. The connections we have made will not only insure growth but it will also help create a stronger definitive of that which is ‘Caribbean’.

Boundaries have been broken, spirits have been lifted, a few wine bottles have been popped open and this dream has finally become reality.
To all my follow resident artists, the curators and most affectionately to Elvis Lopez, until next time!

Sincerely,

Your Bahamian Sister.
Veronica Vo Dorsett

Ateliers’ 89 director, the extraordinary Elvis Lopez.

Ateliers ’89 director, the extraordinary Elvis Lopez.

About Veronica Dorsett:

Veronica Dorsett was born in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas on November 20th, 1992. Currently living in Nassau, Bahamas as a student of the College of the Bahamas, Dorsett received an associate’s degree in art in the fall of 2012. She is primarily an installation artist but also shares a great interest in sculptural, ceramic and mixed media works. As a recent recipient of the 2012 Popopstudios ICVA Junior Residency Prize, she hopes the opportunity will push her work in a whole new direction as she aims to pursue a BFA in Sculpture in 2013.

CARIBBEAN LINKED II is a residency programme and exhibition organized by Ateliers ’89 Foundation in collaboration with ARC Inc. and The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. and funded by the Mondriaan Foundation. The programme took place from August 25th through September 6th, 2013 in Oranjestad, Aruba.

Caribbean Linked II – Opening Exhibition

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On Thursday, September 5th, 2013 from 8pm, the Ateliers ’89 in Orajanestad, Aruba welcomes the Aruban public to the Caribbean Linked II Opening Exhibition featuring new works by: Shirley Rufin (Martinique) | Veronica Dorsett (The Bahamas) | Sofia Maldonado (Puerto Rico/Cuba) | Mark King (Barbados) | Rodell Warner (Trinidad & Tobago) | Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname) | Omar Kuwas (Curacao) | Germille Geerman ( Aruba) | Robin de Vogel (Aruba) and Kevin Schuit (Aruba).

There will be an opening performance by Gang di Arte and this event is held in collaboration with ARC Magazine, The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc, The Instituto Buena Bista, Studio O, Caribbean TV and San Nicolass TV.

The exhibition Halls are located at the Aterliers ’89 Foundation, Dominicanessenstr. 34, Oranjestad, Aruba. For more information call 565 4613.

Major sponsor of this event is the Mondriaan Foundation.

RSVP to attend here: http://on.fb.me/17CQHIH 

Caribbean Linked II: Artist Residency Programme and Exhibition

caribbean linked

Ateliers ’89 Foundation and the Mondriaan Foundation in collaboration with ARC Inc. and The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. present CARIBBEAN LINKED II, a residency programme and exhibition which will take place from August 25th through September 6th, 2013 in Oranjestad, Aruba.

Invited Artists include: Omar Kuwas (Curaçao), Veronica Dorsett (The Bahamas), Mark King (Barbados), Shirley Rufin (Martinique), Sofia Maldonado (Puerto Rico/US), Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Rodell Warner (Trinidad and Tobago), Robin de Vogel, Kevin Schuit and Germille Geerman (Aruba). The selected artists were chosen collaboratively by Annalee Davis, Holly Bynoe and Elvis Lopez.

Caribbean Linked II will be held in association with Studio O, Terafuse, Museo Arqueologico Arubano, UNOCA, San Nicolas TV, Departamento di Cultura, SVE TV, Alydia Wever Theatre Dance Company and Gang di Arte Aruba.

Most popular through Facebook and social media platforms, to be linked or to be connected is the world’s most common way to be associated right now. This residency and exhibition will present young talent while raising issues of their collective futures by discussing the survival of artists, and the sustainability of local creative communities that nurture their development and maintain their connectivity. This residency becomes a crucial space for building awareness across disparate creative communities in the Caribbean and its diaspora by finding ways to connect young and emerging artists with each other. Selected participants will engage in two weeks of open discussion and critiques, various professional workshops, visit established local artists’ studios and better understand the creative cultural industries that propel Aruban art. An exhibition of work produced during the residency will be displayed at Ateliers ’89 and will open on September 5th.

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Collaborating local artists include Alydia Wever, Ciro Abath, Evelino Fingal, Glenda Heyliger, John Freddy Montoya, Marian Abath, Nelson Gonzales, Osaira Muyale and Ryan Oduber. Collaborating partner professionals and institutions include Vivi Ruiz of the Archaeology Museum of Aruba, Lupita Giel of UNOCA and Siegfried Dumfries of the Department of Culture.

Participating institutions include:

ARC Magazine

ARC Magazine is a non-profit print and online publication and social platform founded in 2011. It seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary artists to present their work while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of exchange. ARC is an online and social space of interaction with a developed methodology of sharing information about contemporary practices, exhibitions, partnerships, and opportunities occurring in the Caribbean region and throughout its diasporas. ARC’s mission is to build awareness by fostering exchanges and opportunities that expand creative culture, within the visual arts industry across the wider Caribbean and its diasporas.

Fresh Milk

The Fresh Milk Art Platform Inc. is a Caribbean non-profit, artist-led, inter-disciplinary organization that supports creatives and promotes wise social, economic, and environmental stewardship through creative engagement with society and by cultivating excellence in the arts. The idea for Fresh Milk developed over years of conversations with other practicing artists around the need for artistic engagement amongst contemporary practitioners living and working in Barbados, with an expressed need to strengthen links with the region and the diaspora. Fresh Milk bridges the divides between creative disciplines, generations of creatives, and works across all linguistic territories in the region – functioning as a cultural lab, constantly redefining itself. The platform transforms into a gathering space for contemporary creatives who are thirsty to debate ideas and share works through local and international residencies, lectures, screenings, workshops, exhibitions, projects etc.

Ateliers ‘89

The Foundation ‘Ateliers ’89’ offers Arubans and others interested from the Caribbean region an orientation on contemporary applied art and design. Workshops in different disciplines as painting, installations, video-art, photography, drawing, fashion, theatrical-design, ceramics, animation, graphic design and history of art are organized in a spacious, open and comfortable setting. Established foreign and local artist teach at the studio’s. Every workshop culminates in an exhibition which is open to the public. Furthermore, there are special workshops and tours of the exhibitions for children and young students. Ateliers ’89 works in close cooperation with a number of art academies in the Netherlands. This way, young talents who started off in the workshops of Ateliers ’89 can easily find their way to a Dutch academy.