Panel Discussion DC
Written by Blair Anderson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00

I attended a lively panel discussion this Wednesday about the development of contemporary art in the Caribbean. The panel was comprised of artists currently showing at Transformer Gallery in DC. The exhibition is made up of primarily artists from Jamaica, but the discussion revolved around the current trends and limitations for Caribbean artists in general, one being the heavy tendency to cater to the tourism industry. Younger artists are finding a new voice that pushes against this trend and are struggling to get a footing.

Of great interest to me in terms of Exnihilo is the need for support in this region in the form of residencies. The number of residencies in the region is four.

Yea. Four. That's it. And all of them are tiny off-shoots from artist's personal studios.

There is this groundswell of expression in this region that has so much potential, and yet needs support. It was also very clear that another limitation is the very governments of these countries. A common thread seems to be the lack of understanding of contemporary art with the continued focus on themes of tourism that continue to serve up a misconception of these cultures while hindering the true artistic voice. "Tropicalization" was one of the defining words for this. Representational images that romanticize these regions are popularized and continue to sell either commercially or in private collections.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 May 2014 11:18

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