Susan Mains Gallery, St. George’s, Grenada September 27 - Oct 15 2019
Art House 473, Calliste St. George’s, Grenada “The Beach” 5th Grenada Contemporary Painting/ Mixed Media
Textiles/ Collage/ Resin
John Henry — Grenada LaVanda Mireles — Grenada Carol Youssef— Grenada Xandra Fisher — Grenada Kirby Shaw — Grenada Salome Lawrence Baird — Grenada Gihan Batihk — Grenada Jessica Hobson — USA Alex Stanco — USA Roxanne Marquez Augustine — Grenada
Video/ Photography/ Sound
Maria McClafferty —Grenada
Susan Valentine — Carriacou
Fari Khan — Trinidad
Kriston Banfield — Trinidad
Daniella Fröhlich — Grenada
Amy Cannestra — USA
Billy Gerard Frank — Petit Martinique
David Lemmer — Suriname
Oliver Benoit — Grenada
Raily Steven Yance — Venezuela Kadiejra O’Neal — Barbados
Christine Norton — Trinidad
Ingrid Newman — Grenada/South Africa
Deborah Thomas, Junior Wedderburn — Jamaica/USA
Rick Feld — Grenada Christine Renaudat — France Suelin Low Chew Tung —Grenada Asher Mains — Grenada
Susan Mains — Grenada
Grenada Barbados France French Guiana Jamaica Suriname Trinidad USA Venezuela
Patrick Lacaisse — French Guiana
Grenada Contemporary 2019
1. Xandra Shaw - Grenada
2. Oliver Benoit - Grenada
3. Asher Mains - Grenada
4. Susan Valentine - Carriacou
5. Daniela Froehlich - Grenada
6. Christine Renaudat - France
7. Patrick Lacaisse - French Guiana
8. LaVanda Mireles - Grenada
9. Susan Mains - Grenada
10. Amy Cannestra - USA
11. Maria McClaﬀerty - Grenada
12. Rick Feld - Grenada
13. Ingrid Newman - Grenada/South Africa
14. Alex Stanco - USA
15. Kirby Shaw - Grenada
16. Carol Youssef - Grenada
17. John Henry - Grenada
18. Gihan Batihk - Grenada
19. Salomie Lawrence Baird - Grenada
20. Jessica Hobson - USA
21. Farihah Khan - Trinidad
22. Roxi Hermsen - USA
23. Roxanne Marquez-Augustine - Grenada
24. Billy Gerard Frank - Grenada
25. Suelin Low Chew Tung - Grenada
Photography and Video 26. Kriston Banfield - Trinidad
27. David Lemmer - Suriname
28. Raily Steven Yance - Venezuela
29. Kadiejra O’Neal - Barbados
30. Christine Norton - Trinidad
31. Deborah Thomas/ Junior Wedderburn - Jamaica/USA
1. Xandra Fisher â€” Grenada My love of textiles started at the Art Institute of Chicago where I learned a variety of techniques to create wall hangings with hand dyed fabrics. I lived in California in the 1980â€™s and 90â€™s when the art quilt movement was emerging. I became fascinated with the media and I rediscovered my textile design background. I began using some of the imagery from my watercolor work at the time. I then began using dying and surface design techniques with stamps and screens on fabrics that I used in my quilts. I then began experimenting with more abstract motifs that express the natural world and different cultures. I am especially inspired by the designs and vivid electric colors of the flora and fauna in the Caribbean. I now live in Grenada where I continue my explorations of new images, techniques and ideas inspired by my new environment. Beneath strata of warm Caribbean seas lay mangled strands of sargassum seaweed robbing sunlight and oxygen from precious marine life. They slowly drift towards pristine beaches to become brown mounds of toxic weeds robbing white sandy beaches from tourists and residents. Ironically scientific labs across the world scientists are discovering beneficial medicinal properties of the sargassum weeds. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and fight against inflammation, oxidation, microbes, tumors, coagulation and viruses. Global warming has created an overabundance of sargassum seaweed which has also created an overabundance of material to heal the human body.
2. Oliver Benoit — Grenada The Grenadian artist Oliver Benoit began his career as a landscape and still life painter before devoting his time to the abstract genre. His paintings are in oil, acrylic, and encaustic. His work also includes audio, videos and installations. It is not difficult to understand the messages conveyed in Oliver’s art, but it might help to understand his background as a social scientist, which sometimes dictates his subject matter for his art, not only to express the subject matter visually but also to dwell into more in-depth thought on the issues he wishes to explore. There are two dimensions to his work: to provoke and encourage critical thinking from the perspective of viewers particularly problems that tend to impact the lives of people negatively, and to create a sense of pleasure that transcends the subject matter thereby encouraging viewers to go beyond the artist original ideas. Such engagements with his work is stimulated by the way in which Oliver creates his art to continuously perplex viewers. This is why Oliver encourages viewers to pay careful attention to his work. There is always more in the work than is initially perceived. Benoit represented Grenada at the Biennale di Venezia in 2015. The “Beach” like the Caribbean sea, is not just a place of joy and entertainment, but a place where ideas are cultivated. Nevertheless, those ideas may lay dominant or disappear. But as Glissant alluded, the beach may also “represents a movement outward,” That “outwardness” is also about the vanishing of ideas from our memory. We may forget that the beach was a frontier of slavery, immigrants, revolution and invasion. Is the vanishing of critical historical events from our memory affecting the Grenadian collective identity? Is it necessary to remember?
3. Asher Mains â€” Grenada Asher Mains is a practicing artist and educator from Grenada. His installation work uses locally sourced materials as a way of talking about empathy and memory. He is an instructor of art at St. Georgeâ€™s University, and the the director of the alternative art school, Art School Greenz. Asher last represented Grenada in 2017 at the Biennale di Venezia. He was part of the team that represents Grenada at the 58th Biennale di Venezia, filling the role of Director of Research on the Scientific Committee. He received his MFA in Creative Practice from Transart Institute for Creative Research. Mains lives and works as a director at Art House 473 in Calliste.
Burning Beach/You are Here Glissant’s description of the burning beach is sober and chilling. He describes the sand, sun, and sea in almost lyrical prose, encapsulating a visitor’s vision of the beach before adding in his own sentiment - it is burning. Fragmenting the scene into different panels allows for each particular panel to be seen as its own “image” but also illuminates the disparity between the “idyllic” portions and the parts representing the socio-economic complexity of the beach. “You Are Here” is an emphatic statement which is used as a propaganda piece in the foreground and then reiterated as a dystopian projection. Glissant’s text is then a prelude to the ominous declaration/warning, “You Are Here”. Using simple elements and materials, the installation is laid bare so that there is little mystery to its facture - inviting the viewer to investigate and discover - much like Glissant’s charge.
4. Susan Valentine — Grenada, Carriacou Auto didactic artist with former life in Marketing. Lives and works in Carriacou. Prior to the Grenada Contemporary Show Call for Entries, on a day trip to the small SaintVincent Island, Union Island, I was very disturbed to see a fence, a chicken wire fence, sprayed gold, held with rough hewn posts spanning the entire beach front of a boutique hotel! It was obvious that it was meant to keep locals out...the nightly room rate exceeds $500US. I had to take a picture, I had to capture this absurd statement of where Development of Small Caribbean Islands could lead. I began researching small island development and found a few studies, news articles, one of which Grenadians are quite aware of, with a Five Star Hotel’s newly built beach wall being dismantled after public outcry. Most interesting discovery was in 1983, famous Calypsonian, Mighty Gabby released his Song, Jack, demoralizing the Tourism Industry, Development and the restrictions being placed on locals in Barbados. For this show, I am presenting a Participatory Installation representing my home island of Carriacou and the effect of the beach on day to day life. Fortunately, there has not been Development issues to date but it is assured that Kayaks will not allow the “Golden Fence” and for now, join with me and choose a postcard and turn the barricade into a piece of art.
5. Danielle FrĂśehlich â€” Grenada Growing up in Switzerland with no ocean and sea I always dreamed to live by the ocean. Sitting in the sand and just gazing at the horizon, with no obstacles, the endlessness, no barriers in front of my eyes always gave me this deep feeling of being free.I always knew that little animals, like spiders, crabs and many other little creatures, are buried in the sand and coming to live as soon as people leave the beach. At night the pure white sand is taken over by all those creatures. Several times already I went to Levera Beach, during the nesting season of the Leatherbacks. Did you know that there are more than 200 nests each containing an average of 80 fertilized eggs? That is more than 16,000 eggs. Can you imagine that it is possible you walk over eggs while you take a stroll on the beach? The beach is home to so many animals, it is time we take better care.
6. Christine Renaudat — France
A self taught sound artist, I've been living for almost twenty years in Latin America, part of them in the Caribbean coast of Colombia, in Cartagena, where I created in 2012 my first sound pieces, inspired by my former work as a journalist for the french public radio Radio France. I've been exploring since then the sounds of violence, traumas and memory. My creations have been broadcasted in Europe and Latin America and I participated in several collective and individual exhibitions with my installations. I now live and travel in a sailboat. A sling lounger chair with a pair of headphones hanging from a parasol invites the visitor to sit, relax and listen to a beach soundscape. The waves crash on the sand, some fragments of inaudible conversations are mixed with laughters of kids jumping and playing in the sea. From time to time, the voice of Ella Fitzgerald sings two words:“Summer Time”…Slowly growing, the sound of the wind starts to erase everything. The creakings of a vessel crossing the ocean, these dark noises one can hear in the belly of a boat, replace the laughters and impose themselves, mixed and fused with my voice, and the echoes of a fire, as a metaphor of the endless burning summer that began with the discovery of America. This piece is inspired by a thought I had on a beach in Saint Martin Island two years after the hurricanes, and it resonates with Glissant’s quote. Surrounded by the empty shells of the abandoned hotels destroyed by the wind, and never rebuilt, I looked at my toes buried in the sand and felt that I was standing where the fire that is today burning cathedrals and forests started.
7. Patrick Lacaisse â€” French Guiana
An experienced artist with over 30 years in education and the practice of art. He is the Artistic Director and Head of Training at the Mana Center for Art and Research, CARMA. In French Guyana Through this gallant anecdote that revives a romantic tradition of the artist and his muse, more worrying situations appear. The beach is a magnificent theme, huge, dense and deep, a scene invested by poets and playwrights. The beach is a neglected area of Guiana, while on both sides in the Caribbean, in Brazil it is a preferred practice by locals and tourists. The beach remains absent from the representations of symbolic, mythical and contemporary worlds in French Guiana. The rivers and their depths, the forest, the colonial plantation, the savannah and the estuary, the landing stage are invested in French Guiana in stories, in fairy tales. The beaches are the banks of a border, places of embarkation and disembarkation that saw the arrival of Damise, Damene and their family since their native Haiti as illegal migrants in Guiana. Here in installation a beach is created, the actual beach the girls have never been. Of course many pictures ensue, as in a real trip to the beach.
8. LaVanda Mireles â€” Grenada LaVanda Mireles studied painting and drawing at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. There, she was introduced to pastels, mixed media and printmaking. She now experiments with the photographic medium, cyanotype. LaVanda applies her drawing and painting skills to create a new, painterly approach to this traditional process. LaVanda lives in Grenada, West Indies and is a volunteer instructor for the Grenadian alternative art school, Art School Greenz. The inspiration for this piece came from an unconventional beach walk I took a few months ago. I walked along a steep road on the edge of an enormous, striated ridge located just outside of Denver, Colorado. Exposed within the rock layers was a fossilized beach. The shape and size of the waves and ripples were the same as they are now, instantly recognizable yet eerily out of place in the middle of the Rocky Mountain Foothills. This put things into perspective. The strata and striations in the background represent earth and nature. In the middle is a thick stripe of plastic objects. This is the permanent mark that humans have made on earth, as seen through a lens 100 million years into the future. In this photographic painting, I have used my own hands in the exposure, leaving a personal mark on the process while inviting you to notice the details all around the work. I gathered the natural and man-made materials from the rubbish pile in the yard, the street, the jungle and the beach. I used found items or everyday household things in this particular piece to emphasize the human impact on earth. In contrast to the more natural or linear shapes and textures in the remainder, the plastic objects carry with them a memory, a purpose and a story. What will they say about us after we are gone? If the problems humans have created impact the Earth permanently, and that becomes our legacy, then how ought we to live during this time we have left?
9. Susan Mains — Grenada Susan Mains is a practicing artist of over 35 years and has exhibited and is collected worldwide. She is the Commissioner of the Grenada Pavilion at the 58th Biennale di Venezia. Director Art House 473. The video looks at the contested space of the beach. The players of the foreign investor in the 5 star hotel, the local community, the rising waters of global warming, all contribute to a story of confusion and loss exchanged for moments of illusion and delusion. There are no easy answers, and the situation becomes ever more complicated. The installation is a snap-shot of current affairs—water rising and destroying homes and lives. “I want you to panic…your house is on fire…” Greta Thunberg
10. Amy Cannestra — USA
Through a combination of performance, video, and installation, Amy Cannestra’s work takes on the role of devil’s advocate, challenging social norms and tradition. Using body and identity as an entry point, her work pokes and prods at relationships with media, politics, and social expectations. Adopting stylistic cues from trends in culture and life, Cannestra uses glitter, home insulation, found object, projection, and her body to question systems that have been set in place to define our identity. The video installation shown is part of the current exhibition shown at the Grenada Pavilion at the 58th Biennale di Venezia. A small memory from the beach is collected and preserved here in a little jar.
11. Maria McClafferty â€” Grenada
A well established artist, perhaps best known for her work with glass, Maria has now turned to painting, acrylic and resin on aluminum. Maria represented Grenada at its first participation in 2015 at The Biennale di Venezia. The desire to find something real when all is too much, when you need to escape, when you want it just for yourself and suddenly, here it is. You pip over the wall with pretty flowers and here is- the lonely mystical paradise, idyllic and isolated. But is that wall really just a wall?
12. Rick Feld — Grenada
Rick Feld is an artist who has re-discovered his early training since moving to Grenada. He has been primarily a painter, but now delves into the expression of installation. The beach is a site where waste from rivers and far off lands is deposited, telling us a forensic story about the sea-borne refuse in the world. It's a place of cleansing, dumping, masking, and hiding. Sometimes the evidence drifts. Sometimes it descends into the deep. Sometimes it disintegrates & decomposes. But it doesn’t disappear. The ocean, the wind, and the beach work together to unveil the truth about our past transgressions. In 1986, thanks to an overwhelming amount of public support, commercial whaling was banned worldwide. Today, the International Whaling Commission holds the fate of the world’s whales in the hands of a few individuals. Grenada declined from joining the ban. Between 2012 & 2018 I found these 3 whale bones snorkeling off of Grand Anse Beach, St. George’s Grenada. Evidence that fishermen, despite a world wide commercial whaling ban, continue to hunt whales.
13. Ingrid Newman â€” Grenada/South Africa Small islands are on the frontline of climate related challenges. This could potentially affect those forced to migrate as a result of climate disruption and displacement, it could also affect tourism on which the island depends for its economic survival. The aspect I have chosen to focus on is the responsibility of visitors to places like Grenada, as it relates to our out of sight, out of mind mentality that enables business as usual. Plastic waste consumed and disposed of by visitors and developers is significant. The impact on landfill and disposal has a massive knock-on for the island citizens as it contributes to both land, ocean and air degradation. Through my exploration and experiments with plastic I hope to inspire a positive approach to finding innovative ways of encouraging individuals to view plastic as a material that has value. The life-size child she sculpts here is the work of many pieces of plastic waste that she has shaped, then painted.
14. Alex Stanco â€” Grenada/ USA Alex Stanco is an artist originally from Long Island, NY. She studied fine arts and art history in Lakeland, FL, where she received her Bachelors in Fine Arts. Her oil paintings convey messages about social and political issues. Complex issues such as climate change, sexism or differences in culture are constant and reoccurring. Her art aims to help shed light on tribulations, or to show an altered point of view. There are always new disputes arising in society, which provides her with a never ending flow of material. The realistic style she creates is to reflect the real life situations and problems she is confronting. As society matures and alters so does her art; it is a constant reflection of what is happening within the world. She hopes to bring into focus the differences and issues we face instead of hiding from them, to confront them. As oceans are rising, ice caps are melting, coral reefs are dying and forests are being set ablaze, one can not ignore the impact humans have on our environment. We are our own worst enemy, destroying the place that protects us and many creatures. Through the littered bottle is a distorted beach, one that is resembling a hazy version of what was a clear beach side view. The green that once resembled the natural growth of vegetation or algae within the sea, now reflects the greed within mankind. As money is constantly seen as a powerful force, we have forgotten about the force of nature and how we are destroying it, and in doing so, destroying ourselves.
15. Kirby Shaw — Grenada My personal work is mostly plein air landscapes in watercolor and oils. As an avid traveler, hiker and surfer, I have always had a love for the landscapes that I explored, and I usually carried a small paint kit with me. Working on site means really observing the light and the feel of a place - the geology of the environment, the sky and the atmosphere. I have painted most frequently in the California Central Coast and Big Sur, the High Sierra, Baja, the Grand Canyon and now in the Caribbean. I have taught studio art and photography for 25 years at the secondary level, in California, including Advance Placement courses. The painting explores the chaos of the modern, developed world “enjoying” the beach, oblivious to the industrial world beyond that supports that lifestyle. In travels throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, you see crowded “hotel beaches” like this, swarming with people, stacked together, consuming their beach experience. The industrial scale of this “beach experience” has caused many coastlines to suffer. The beach goers are often oblivious to the abuse of the oceans by old exploration and industrialization that happens over the horizon, far away.
16. Carol Youssefâ€” Grenada Carol is a young artist now completing her studies in IT at St. Georgeâ€™s University. She has a passion for art, and desires to pursue it. Someone viewing my work , should develop an appreciation and desire for keeping the beach beautiful. All these ideas came from my love for the beach and the sea.
17. John Henry â€” Grenada
John Henry is an active young painter who has been participating in the Grenada Contemporary exhibition since 2015. The gateway Individuals tend to visit the beach for many different reasons and occasions but sometimes getting there and time management could be a huge bolder in you, being on the beach and wanting to be on the beach. We all know the signification ,benefits and pleasures that our beaches more over the ocean as a whole possesses and at one point or another we all wished for a easier way to escape our daily hassles and hardship just for a moment or a day of relaxation, Peace and overall just to detoxify and the beach provides just what the doctor ordered.
18. Gihan Batihk — Grenada A young artist, Gihan draws inspiration from a mixture of Japanese Anime with a healthy sprinkling of Caribbean charm, Gihan creates her pieces in both traditional and digital mediums; using paints, pastels, and pencils, as well as digital platforms like “Procreate” on her iPad And so I create the reflection of the unique story of an uncharted experience, a life created with my very hands before my own eyes – and I delight to share with everyone who cares – and dares to see... every fluid, magical moment.
19. Salome Lawrence Baird â€” Grenada The work of Salomie Lawrence-Baird directly responds to the surrounding environment in a multi layered way, it delves into the connectedness of the real and the abstract. She offers the viewer a glimpse of her connection to the world and asks them to look a little more closely at their own. Her previous work explores a love of abstract together with the subconscious mind. More specifically the concept of memory. Where do they go when our minds can no longer hold them, where is the void? She asks if we will ever meet them again? What does she want to say with her art? She calls you to celebrate our human experience...itâ€™s short. Find the beauty, stay connected. Take care of our world and each other I hear her whisper to calm the chaos, and I listen. We are connected by threads, forged millions of years past She & I. My hair is damp and soaked in salt. Skin hot, breath heavy. I am awakened by the presence of the ocean, the Water Spirit knows this of me and selflessly heals what is broken, she sends me forward pure and cleansed. Changed. Too many do not understand, nor do they care. She is a prize to them, a trophy, idolized for her beauty. To be used, photographed and discarded until next they speak. They hear her calling, but little do they remember of a time when they were one. The Water Spirit is unhappy with her human inhabitants but remains strong, her core pure and primal. Unrestrained by man she will use her power to bring about a change in our human journey. She will expand, burst forth and it will be too late then for regret.
20. Jessica Hobson â€” USA Jessica Hobson joyfully explores the natural beauty around and within us through her carefully crafted botanical artwork. This self-taught artist has been pressing flowers for as long as she can remember and in 2015 began experimenting with using these pressed leaves and flowers as a medium for creating simple maps and animals. Constantly fascinated by the intricate detail and beauty of flowers paired with a background in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Jessica loves exploring and learning about the natural world around her and this in turn inspires the cartography and local flora and fauna seen in her pieces. As she interacts with her surrounding environment, her pressed flower art pieces naturally continue to grow and change. Through her artwork, she invites everyone to draw closer and linger for a moment in fascination and wonder at the natural world around us and realize that we are also intricately and beautifully created. Jessica is currently based in St. Georgeâ€™s, Grenada and has found inspiration, challenges, and unique opportunities to share her artwork while traveling and living abroad. Her art is found in private collections in the United States, New Zealand, England, and Grenada. Humans, wildlife, aquatic organisms, and flora have always and will always seek out beaches as places for rest, rejuvenation, exploration, and inspiration, among other things. There will always be interactions where the land meets the sea, but will it be recorded as a place of life and balance or will one species dominate the canvas? As a reflection of these musings and in order to invite conversation, Carefully cutting and arranging botanicals into a larger art piece reveals a glimpse of the intimate connections found in the natural world between flora, fauna, and us. Calidris pusilla is a small shorebird that can still be spotted at the quiet fringes of Grand Anse beach and is a common, non-breeding, yeararound visitor in the West Indies. They are currently listed as Near Threatened due to population decline.
21. Farihah Khan â€” Trinidad Farihah Khan is a young, self-taught artist from Trinidad and Tobago. Her passion for art was natural, instinctive and wholesome from the age where she could grip a crayon. Her love for anything creative continued to grow despite juggling a science heavy background. She has consistently been practicing her art, mainly doing bespoke pieces for family and friends, or charitable works for good causes. Present day, she aspires to attain post-graduate education within Scientific and Medical Illustration, a unique and serendipitous blend of what she was formally educated in and her passion of art. She currently resides between Trinidad and Grenada. She works as an intern within St. Georgeâ€™s University in the BioMedical Visualization Department as well as an assistant at Art House 473. This piece captures the essence of one of my childhood memories. It depicts the whimsy of young children attempting to help fishermen at the beach, while the pulled in seine. Though the children find amusement in this activity during their holiday, the fishermen are hard at work. You see the beach being used as a recreational vessel as well as a means of living wrapped into one harmonious, symbiotic scene. Above the beach you can observe subtle highlights from local newspapers regarding to how the beach is treated in different lights, be it for pleasure as a getaway, or the government capitalizing on the land for monetary gain by selling along with selling national identity. Still, the locals live on, in their unique paradise.
22. Roxi Sem-Hermsen â€” Canada I would like to bring attention to the erosion of the beach at Aquarium caused by hurricanes and water rising from icebergs melting and the earth getting hotter, by exhibiting a painting created in 1997, before Hurricane Ivan and another of the same spot from this year. These two paintings created 22 years apart, of the same beach at Aquarium Restaurant in Grenada. The first painting approx. 36x36: is before hurricane Ivan damaged the rock facing there and the second painting approx. 24x30 is as recent as March of this year.
23. Roxanne Marquez Augustine — Grenada A prolific young painter, she works with acrylic on canvas, using bold colours and captures the personalities of her subjects. “Sargasso Sea” was so named because it depicts the Sargassum Seaweed that populates the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. This painting was done with this in mind of a beach on the Western side of Grenada, more specifically, Gouyave where the fishing industry is the main livelihood. Since 2011 a lot of Sargassum Seaweed had invaded the Eastern shores of the Caribbean Sea, 2018 being the worst. It has become a hazard to the fishing industry and it has dampened the tourism sector of the islands since the smell of the seaweed is quite unbearable. This painting depicts the different forms that the Sargassum Seaweed can take as fishing boats are caught in it on an abandoned beach. A beach that was once prosperous is now at the mercies of the Sargassum Seaweed. As stated by Edouard Glissant, “…I catch the quivering of this beach by surprise, this beach where visitors exclaim how beautiful! How typical! And I see that is it burning….” It is interesting to note that this seaweed has now reached the Western shores of the island of Grenada which is a growing concern. One can see evidence of the Sargassum Seaweed on one of the most popular and beautiful beaches on the island – Grand Anse Beach.
24. Billy Gerard Frank—Petit Martinique, Grenada The mixed media work he presents here is from a still from the film “Second Eulogy: Mind the Gap”, where he depicts the jab jab of local carnival culture coming out of the sea on to the beach. My practice as a multi-disciplinary artist is hinged on the personal, socio-historical and cultural rubrics of exile, migration, and the marginalized, my positionality as a queer man of AfroCaribbean and Scottish heritage. But what I create and say is not always ‘in context’ and congruent to that specific place and history where I was born. My own perception of culture and history and representation as such is always shifting. However, the emotional rupture, longing, and memory around my past and the place I am from linger as a strong current and the locus of my creative practice. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of personal experience, my works reference post-colonial theory as well as the postmodern as a form of resistance and interrogation of political and contemporary social systems. It challenges the binaries we continually construct between (Self) and (Other.) His film Second Euology: Mind the Gap is currently on display at the Grenada Pavilion at the 58th Biennale di Venezia in Italy.
25. Suelin Low Chew Tung —Grenada Suelin is an artist, writer and imagineer of the human Grenadian landscape. Her work revolves around questions of identity, culture, history and tradition, and takes the form of mixed media paintings, drawings and collages, many of them on found/recycled substrates, as well as canvas and paper. One definition of a cocktail is a mixture of substances or factors, especially when dangerous or unpleasant in its effects. Bad Sex on the Beach alludes to that unpleasantness in the form of a ‘bar’ of cocktail glasses filled with sand and ‘garnished’ with objects taken from various beaches. Our history is in every grain of beach sand. The beach as holder of history has lost Amerindian (and other) sites to sand movement/mining. The beach as place of ritual, of morning prayers, evening runs, weekend cook-ups, coconut bat cricket, sandcastles, turtle nests, drying nets and crab holes; as place where journeys began and ended, has been reduced to a site of protest, border disputes, and subject to tourism transformations, garbage, sewage, sargassum and, in the not too distant future, crude oil. The cocktails speak to what has been lost, and what will be lost due to human activities and environmental concerns, and where, in the absence of genuine leadership, people won’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They’ll drink it because they won’t know the difference. (Paraphrased from The American President, 1995.)
26. Kriston Banfield — Trinidad Born in 1992, Kriston Banfield is a self-taught visual artist who grew up in the Santa Cruz valley of the northern range of Trinidad and Tobago. His growing up amongst nature and a village with a strong belief for myth and mysticism heavily inspires his work, often focusing on themes of spirituality, community and self-introspection. He graduated from the University of the West Indies choosing to Major in tropical landscaping and minor in Social Development Policy and Planning. To date he has participated in the “De Mi Barrio a Tu Barrio” street art project (2011) and exhibited in the “2017 Ghetto Biennale” in Port au Prince, Haiti. Also, he has participated in 4 group exhibitions spanning the period 2014 to present. Kriston Banfield's work investigates ideas of community and belonging and the antagonistic relationship between the concept of self within the confines of societal/cultural norms (namely those of the Caribbean). His work takes the form of paintings, illustrations, sculptures and installations and by using a juxtaposition of spirituality and the natural environment he seeks to question how social and economic disparities directly police the human experience, more so one’s availability to opportunity and power, as it reinforces notions of stratification and stereotypes especially amongst marginalized groups. The work shown in the projected video is of a large drawing, “Ways of Traveling”
27. David Lemmer — Suriname The short video presented is entitled “Sea Animal” Animals of the sea As the time passes, we change The sun makes the blood boil An exchange of feelings is missing Held up by our own selfish desires The heart has become cold steel The skin has to be penetrated As a soulless shell we dwell unknowingly into the abyss Nature has become another object which ensures our taste for destruction The consequences are on a scale never before seen We consume without thought In the end we consume ourselves The intimacy is gone We are still able to change this dangerous situation together There is still a choice This short performance film is just a very small expression of what we our doing to the planet.I used REAL unrefined oil and gasoline. As you would guess the taste is very awful. It is a short film, but I had the stuff in mu mouth for 10 hours. I chose to do this because I wanted to experience what the animals are experiencing. And believe me after a view seconds you want to spit everything out. I do not encourage anybody to try this. As an artist I go to extreme measures to make us as people aware of what is going on and that we should not take this global phenomenon lightly. What if the tables were turned? How would we experience this? The taste, the smell, death, loneliness, emptiness, sadness? Do we think about this? I am just a tiny spec of sand trying to show the ugly side and open the minds. Make conscious and start engaging in a change of the mind, spirit and heart.I give this short film freely to Greenpeace. I hope you can use it wisely. Video on Screen
28. Raily Steven Yance — Venezuela For Raily Stiven Yance Aguirre everything has a visible configuration or not, a situation that leads him to contemplate and talk to himself. This is a way to hack the accepted conventions (spaces-languages-times) in everyday life (contextuality). For this purpose it uses intuitively imaginary equations, based on analogies of different surrounding systems (everyday life), those imaginations and conversations they are studies of the intuitive readings he does, to pretend understand himself and the other who is also thinking, his technique main is to look for other ways of things, with it strives, to reach the limit, using the result as an element, to develop their hypothesis paintings. For Raily Stiven Yance Aguirre, he encourages imagination and makes the viewer think. It is a challenge to the real-imaginary domain system— to source where it emerges, everything we do. For Raily Stiven Yance Aguirre, everything and everyone is "internet" belonging to that expansion, the proposes to use the multi-universal-local (art language), to empower the (others), before an integrated and sordid daily life (criticizes time-space-language), the nature of your curiosity the nature of his curiosity is inexplicable, but he trust that it is liberating and wants to spread it. Short video presented is “Manera un Faetón caribeño” on screen.
29. Kadiejra O’Neal — Barbados Kadiejra O’Neal is a multidisciplinary artist working predominently in paint and photography whose practice focuses on exploring physical and emotional relationships. Kadiejra graduated in 2017 from Toronto’s Ryerson University with a BFA in Photography and has since been exhibiting works locally and internationally, with shows in Canada as well as the UK. The beach has always been a staple of tranquility, but for some it’s the tempestuous nature of crashing waves and foaming seashores that lead to the overwhelming sensation of confusion and chaos. It’s turbulence and mystique calls you in and captures you like a drop of shore knowingly waiting for its place. The gulf of the waters captivate and compel you to excite a stillness that can only transcend ones’ emotions from it’s frigid state to a flow parallel to the motion of the shore itself. It’s enchanting, enthralling and seductive…it bewitches you to find a visceral relation between yourself and it’s tide…forcing you to respond to its nature and begging for you it enjoy its ride. Video on screen
30. Christine Norton â€” Trinidad Christine Norton is a humanist photographer from Trinidad and Tobago. She combines years of work in social development with her interest in photography to focus on documentaryphotography and mixed media fine art photography. Christineâ€™s interest in capturing the emotion, and the complexity of everyday relationships and environments leads her to continuallypursue evolving forms of expression in photography. To really experience a Caribbean beach we need to live it. More than sun, sea and salt we mustrun on it, play on it, swim in the salt water and take a lime on the beach. Caribbean people dothat on weekends when we have time to play. My work conveys the passion of beach footballand the evening dip. I want viewers to feel the Caribbean sun, sense the excitement of the game, duck the flying salt water and sand and enjoy the evening dip. The beach is a source of energyand rejuvenation, a problem-solver for a day, a place for friendship on tiny islands full of other worldly issues. Photographs in projection.
31. Deborah Thomas, Junior Wedderburn â€” Jamaica/USA Deborah A. Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and the Director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Exceptional Violence, and Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and The Politics of Culture in Jamaica. Her new book, Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation, will be published in November 2019 by Duke Press. Thomas co-directed the documentary films Bad Friday, and Four Days in May, and she is the co-curator of a multi-media installation titled Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston. She is the editor of American Anthropologist. Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn is an accomplished percussionist who has performed and recorded with a variety of well-known reggae artistes, and who has also composed percussive scores for dance. His own percussion group, Ancient Vibrations, presents traditional Afro-Jamaican rhythms and chants, the roots of reggae music. Wedderburn has played with The Lion King on Broadway since it began development in 1997. He was also a Producer and Music Director for the documentary Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens The video short, FOUR DAYS IN WEST KINGSTON, is meant to raise a number of questions: What does it mean to be human in the wake of the plantation? How do people confront the pressures of colonialism and slavery, nationalism and state formation? What forms of community and expectation are produced in and through violence? And in what ways can we meaningfully bear witness to these processes? This is the other side of the idyllic beach of the Caribbean â€” the burning side. Video on Screen
Essay for the 5th Grenada Contemporary Exhibit, “The Beach” Asher Mains
The ocean is at the heart of origin stories across cultures. Before anything else, there were the waters, the sea. These origin myths according to Édouard Glissant serve to strengthen a community or culture through filiation - or memory. In Poetics of Relation Glissant describes a socio-cultural phenomenon where filiation is used as a legitimising factor when cultures interact. The people who can remember the furthest back in history will dominate. Eastern and Western cultures both present water in front of sacred spaces. In the Western tradition, water was kept outside of the Tabernacle and later the Temple for the priests to cleanse themselves but also as a symbol of the world and a reminder that the earth was once formless and void “…darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” It is not lost on our Caribbean writers, Saint-John Perse, Derek Walcott, and Édouard Glissant, that whether the Sea is the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, remembering the waters is fundamental to the structure of a civilisation. When Derek Walcott wrote The Sea is History he absconded the Western tradition of domination through filiation and reasserted with Glissant - there is no memory that is longer than the Sea itself. It is not lost, the gravitas of arriving to a beach. The sea is then the laver of the tabernacle, the Brazen Sea of Solomon’s Temple, the Wudu of the mosque, or the temizuya of a Shinto temple and the beach - a sacred space. Appropriately, the 5th Grenada Contemporary Exhibit, held by Susan Mains Gallery and hosted by Art House 473 in Calliste, Grenada, themed “The Beach”, was shown in what used to be a Pentecostal church. With a cross still in station on the back wall, “The Beach” occupied a deconsecrated yet still sacred space - this point of convergence to consider origins, culture, economy, environment, and most of all, a space of relation where cultures and ideas converged to consider the complex space that the beach represents.
If the setting of the Grenada Contemporary exhibit was established on these important elements of origins, memory, and sacred space, entry to the exhibit was equally irreverent. A spotify playlist called “Steel Drum Beach Party” played such idyllic hits as “Yellow Bird”, “Matilda”, or “Day O” played for guests upon entry to the exhibit. While these songs are absolutely part of the fabric of Caribbean music and culture and by themselves represent endearing and timeless melodies, in the context, Walcott would have cringed.
“What is the earthly paradise for our visitors? Two weeks without rain and a mahogany tan, and, at sunset, local troubadours in straw hats and floral shirts beating “Yellow Bird” and “Banana Boat Song” to death. There is a territory wider than this – wider than the limits made by the map of an island – which is the illimitable sea and what it remembers.”
The latter is what the artists were charged with exploring in their work. Guests to the exhibit would have had to have passed a small arsenal of Pure Grenada print material from the Grenada Tourism Authority, another small reminder that our sacred and complex space can easily be encompassed and commodified with saturated images of mostly empty beaches with enough room for you, the viewer, to occupy. Everything up to this point in the exhibit could confirm a status quo interpretation of the beach theme. Glissant’s voice is nearly palpable - “Have something to exchange that isn’t just sand and coconut trees but, instead, the result of our creative activity. Integrate what we have, even if it is sea and sun, with the adventure of a culture that is ours to share and for which we take responsibility.”(Glissant, 153) All 31 artists, admonished by Glissant and in the spirit of Walcott oﬀered their exchange.
A number of artists took the beach as a starting point to talk about climate change, stewardship of our environment, and sustainability. Kirby Shaw, Ingrid Newman, Susan Mains, LaVanda Mireles, David Lemmer, Roxi Hermsen, Alex Stanco and Christine Renaudat all expressed the beach as an ecological metric - a place where one could nearly literally take a pulse of the planet because conditions change so quickly and the sea is eager to provide criminal evidence of its pollutants. Pieces included paintings, installations, video and sound pieces that implored visitors to join in care for our beaches but also more broadly, our planet.
One of the current issues in Grenada on the beach is the prevalence of Sargassum seaweed causing disruption to life on the beach as well as the sea. As a problem that is potentially costly to either remove or process, artists such as Roxanne Marquez-Augustine and Xandra Fisher took this as their central theme.
Many of the works demonstrated a variety of perceptions that people have of the beach usually revolving around a story but always people in relation to each other with the beach as the stage. John Henry, Carol Youssef, Gihan Batihk, Farihah Khan, Billy Gerard Frank, Oliver Benoit, Suelin Low Chew Tung, Asher Mains, Patrick Lacaisse, Salomie Lawrence, Kriston Banfield, Amy Cannestra, Raily Steven Yance, Christine Norton, Susan Valentine, Deborah Thomas and Junior Wedderburn in diﬀerent capacities relate to the beach as a setting for social exchange and cultural interaction.
A few of the pieces, while they could have been included in other categories, focused on the beauty and natural activity of the beach free from human intervention. These artists depict natural narratives for the viewer to be reminded and immersed in the beach for the beach sakes: Kadiejra O’Neal, Daniella Froehlich, Rick Feld, and Jessica Hobson.
While categorising the work can be useful as far as thinking through the diﬀerent paths taken to the beach, many of these pieces could easily span multiple categories and/or be a
category unto themselves. It is important to remember the sea as illimitable but also the poetics of relation constantly seeks relation and new connections to synthesise rather than create inarguable outposts of ideas. Not one of the artists from the 9 countries represented at this exhibit were immune to the aﬀect of the island, and by extension, the beach in their practice. Every artist is a collaborator as we reassemble, from our diﬀerent paths our memory, what continuously works towards a more complete vision of our collective identity. Glissant would urge us to remember that as we assemble Walcott’s pieces of the Antillean memory we are as a result creating even more rhizomes and points for connection. This is what makes our civilisation rich. “Identity is no longer just permanence; it is a capacity for variation, yes, a variable - either under control or wildly fluctuating.” (Glissant, 141) With this idea of ‘identity in relation’ as a preface we can take in Walcott’s poetic reminder that an exhibit like this is an eﬀort in memory.
“All of the Antilles, every island, is an eﬀort of memory; every mind, every racial biography culminating in amnesia and fog. Pieces of sunlight through the fog and sudden rainbows, arcs-en-ciel. That is the eﬀort, the labour of the Antillean imagination, rebuilding its gods from bamboo frames, phrase by phrase.” (Walcott) In a way then, the Caribbean as a region, and an exhibit such as the Grenada Contemporary can be read as a surreptitious and devious engagement. Much like many species will lure prey towards it with attractive bait to achieve its own ends - the Grenada Contemporary Exhibit is full of beautiful, well-crafted pieces that intrigue and invite guests to have a closer look. If you were at the opening you would have tapped your foot to the sound of steel pan music and had one of the in-house made rum punches. It is in this beautiful space with beautiful work, however, that you should feel confronted. The Caribbean lures people from all over the world to engage in a practice of relation identity amongst its sea, sun, and sand. What the region gains in return are the elements that contribute to the complex identity of the Caribbean as a sounding board for the entire world. Glissant calls this the echoes-monde found within the chaos-monde. This positions the Caribbean identity at an advantage in an increasingly globalised world. Despite this unique position as a place where identity in relation is activated, it has not made equal strides economically and within a capitalist framework is not seen as a valuable contributor to global civilisation. Walcott succinctly describes this “idyllic” place that people do not truly engage with and look to exploit.
“The Caribbean is not an idyll, not to its natives. They draw their working strength from it organically, like trees, like the sea almond or the spice laurel of the heights. Its peasantry and its fishermen are not there to be loved or even photographed; they are trees who sweat, and whose bark is filmed with salt, but every day on some island, rootless trees in suits are signing favourable tax breaks with entrepreneurs, poisoning the sea almond and the spice laurel of the mountains to their roots. A morning could come in which governments might ask what happened not merely to the forests and the bays but to a whole people.” (Walcott)
Just as someone may spend a week on an island and not think twice about their identity in relation to the island, art exhibits can be equally illusory. If you visited “The Beach” and went away with a mind full of craftsmanship and skill, which there were, and not the underlying subtext and messages, which there also were, then you may have only taken in a portion of the whole. We miss opportunities constantly to embrace the complexity and fluidity of who we are especially in relation to the other. “Sometimes, by taking up the problems of the Other, it is possible to find oneself.” (Glissant, 18). “The beach”, in the case of the 5th Grenada Contemporary, but also as a universally relatable space with many identities engaging with each other is not only a space where we can consider these ideas and themes, it is a space that through relation we can find each other and ourselves. If the waters are a place of origins, the beach is a place where we can all begin.
Genesis 1:2, The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan House, 1984. Print.
Glissant Édouard. Poetics of Relation. University of Michigan Press, 2009.
Walcott Derek, From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1991-1995, Editor Sture Allén, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1997