Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hurricanes and wakes

An evening of poetry with Loretta Collins Klobah, Andre Bagoo, and Shivanee Ramlochan

Hosted by the NGC Bocas Lit Fest
Monday 11 January, 2016, 7 pm, at Alice Yard

Loretta Collins Klobah, author of The Twelve-Foot Neon Woman, is visiting Trinidad for the first time since winning the OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry in 2012. On Monday 11 January, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest will host a celebration of her prize-winning book at Alice Yard, joined by Trinidadian poets Andre Bagoo (author of Trick Vessels and BURN) and Shivanee Ramlochan (whose poems appear in the recent anthology Coming Up Hot). In the work of these three writers, the forces of the natural world contend with human nature, and the supernatural erupts into the everyday.

All are invited.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Three months in Trinidad

New work by Tessa Mars
Thursday 17 December, 2015, from 7 pm, at Alice Yard

Haitian artist Tessa Mars arrived in Trinidad in October 2015 to begin a three-month residency at Alice Yard. On the evening of Thursday 17 December she will present her work in progress from her stay in Port of Spain, including a series of drawings, paintings, zines, and prints. These include twenty unique handmade zines available for sale, and a photocopied zine which will be freely distributed to the audience.

During her time in Trinidad, as she describes in a recently published note, Mars has created a character named Tessalines, an alter ego through whom the artist has processed the sometimes overwhelming “influx of information and sensation” resulting from her immersion in a new place and context.

Mars’s residency at Alice Yard is supported by a travel grant from the French Institute (“Visa pour la creation” programme/Afrique et Caraïbes en Création).

All are invited.

Friday, December 4, 2015

“A time of letting go”

Haitian artist Tessa Mars arrived in Port of Spain in October 2015 for a three-month residency at Alice Yard, supported by a travel grant from the French Institute (“Visa pour la creation” programme/Afrique et Caraïbes en Création). She offers some reflections on her time in Trinidad thus far.

Tessalines, a fictional alter ego created by the artist

My time in Trinidad and Tobago has from the beginning been a time of intense discovery. Everything around me is new and different, from the food to the vegetation and wildlife. The flashes of familiarity I often experience during my day-to-day dealings with local culture are altogether too brief. Though excited, I find myself at times overwhelmed by the newness.

But instead of retreating from this sudden influx of information and sensation, in the early days of my stay, I spontaneously created an alter ego figure named Tessalines to deal with it for me. Tessalines allows me to keep my distance from the world around, filtering the immersion experience through the lens of her self-fullness, reducing it to key moments of my stay, as insignificant as they may be, for easier consumption (or assimilation).

My work has thus taken a completely surprising and unexpected turn. I am holding on to Tessalines while trying to better understand who we are together here, and develop us even further. Because, although her main reason for coming into being was to offer me a safe and unchangeable haven, her existence cannot be reduced to this only function. Tessalines has a name, attributes, a personality, and a past that I intend to explore. It is an exciting journey that begins here at Alice Yard. A long work of reflection, research, and questioning starts here, that will continue past the time I return to Haiti. For Tessalines will surely continue to surprise me in my homeland.                                                                  

My stay at Alice Yard has so far been a time of letting go. Letting go of the “project”, accepting that it is evolving, adapting, that plenty needs to be reconsidered, thought about again. Letting go of the idea of having a clean finish, of having an answer to the riddle of my stay. I have taken the time to be a spectator of my own creative process, to sit back and observe the slow unfolding of an idea from day to day. To be surprised and to be both indecisive and in control in turns. I truly believe I can only grow as an artist from this process.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lara Dahlmann: Currents

Monday 9 November, 2015, from 7 pm, at Alice Yard 

“[Lara Dahlmann’s] notebook studies of the back steps of modest middle-class concrete houses, the occasional Barataria night-scene, or the shape of breadfruit leaves, all visual phenomena that we often ignore, became her own personal visual vocabulary or sensorial mapping. As her responses evolved, she began to have fun, and invented ‘exotic’ hybrid animals and personages taken from the labels of local consumer items or the Murtis of Hindu calendar art, while still engaging and processing the expectations one conjures from old-fashioned geographical annuals…”

— Christopher Cozier, from the catalogue of a piece of pomerac, June 2009, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum and Papiermuseum Düren

Lara Dahlmann is a German artist, living and working in Hamburg. For the past three weeks, she has been artist in residence at Alice Yard. On the evening of Monday 9 November she will present a series of drawings and a mural in an open studio event at Alice Yard.

Earlier stays in Trinidad had a deep impact on Dahlmann’s work and inspired her to create a visual vocabulary of her own mythologies as a constant exchange with the surroundings. These previous visits also suggested the possibility of working with space: her silhouettes began as shifting installations of paper clippings on a wall, were then executed as two-dimensional cut-outs, and have expanded back onto the wall again as a paper installation.

Her current series of larger cut-outs was influenced by a visit to Caroni Swamp, and depicts views of the swamp as a constantly revolving system of creation and destruction. Deriving from this meditation on stillness and transcendence, the works are now about the underlying dynamics, the circulation and the motion.

All are invited.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing Lara Dahlmann and Tessa Mars

Artists in residence, October to December 2015

In the final quarter of 2015, Alice Yard is hosting two artists in residence, Lara Dahlmann (October to November) and Tessa Mars (October to December).

Lara Dahlmann is a German artist, living and working in Hamburg. She graduated with a diploma in illustration from the University of Applied Sciences and received a travel grant from the DAAD/German Academic Exchange Service to visit Trinidad and complete her studies in 2000. She later participated in residencies at Caribbean Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Trinidad in 2006, and at La Paternal Espacio Proyecto in Buenos Aires. Dahlmann has exhibited in various spaces in Hamburg and Berlin, and at the Leopold-Hoesch Museum in Düren. For more information on her work, visit

Tessa Mars is a Haitian visual artist living and working in Port-au-Prince. She completed her bachelor’s degree in visual arts in France, at Rennes 2 University in 2006. From 2006 to 2013 she worked as a cultural projects coordinator at Fondation AfricAméricA. Her work has been exhibited in Haïti, Canada, France, Italy, and the United States. In 2015 she was awarded a travel grant by the French Institute (“Visa pour la creation” programme/Afrique et Caraïbes en Création), and is subsequently in Port of Spain for a three-month residency at Alice Yard. During her stay she will be shaping her personal mythology and exploring how new surroundings influence our narratives. For more information, visit

Both artists will give public presentations of their work at dates to be announced.

Monday, October 12, 2015

AY24/7: Alex Kelly


The latest in Alice Yard’s 24/7 series of artists’ installations is a mural drawing by Alex Kelly, part of an ongoing exploration of the concept of “force ripe.” The work at Alice Yard, writes the artist, “seeks to examine the roles that education and the rapid acquisition of wealth have played in the development of the current social and cultural realities of Trinidad and Tobago since it gained independence in 1962.”

About the artist:

Alex Kelly is a contemporary artist working in Trinidad and Tobago. He recently graduated from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts. Over the period of his study at the university, Kelly participated in several public art projects.

He has exhibited in three group shows with the University of the West Indies, and in 2012 produced the mural Slave at the Night Gallery, Woodbrook, Port of Spain. Most recently, Kelly participated in the Caribbean Linked III artists’ residency and exhibition in Aruba, where in August 2015 he spent three weeks producing original works and participating in engagements that have expanded the scope of his practice from a national focus to a regional one.

Kelly is one of the resident artists at Granderson Lab, Alice Yard’s adjunct incubation space in Belmont, Port of Spain.

AY24/7 is an ongoing series of artists’ works installed in the Alice Yard Box, a modest gallery space accessible to viewers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A conversation with Ivan Sigal

Friday 9 October, 2015, at 7 pm

Kabul, Afghanistan, 2004, from White Road

Ivan Sigal is a photographer, writer, media producer, and executive director of Global Voices. His book White Road, published in 2012, is a meditation through images and text on the aftereffects of history, the restlessness of travel, and the possibilities of human encounter, based on his experience living and working in Russia and Central Asia from 1998 to 2005. A more recent project, The Karachi Circular Railroad, reported for the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting, circumnavigates the Pakistani city, telling stories about its past, present, and possible futures.

On Friday 9 October, 2015, at 7 pm, Sigal will give an informal talk at Alice Yard on his photography and reporting projects, the compulsion to document, and how photographs can find truths behind the grand narratives of nations and official histories.

All are invited.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Proximities 2: Destinos Posibles

Curated by Meykén Barreto
Presented in partnership with the ttff/15 new media programme

Wednesday 23 September, 2015, 7 to 10 pm at Alice Yard

Still from Inversión, by Glenda Leon

This selection of video works, first presented in 2014 as part of the groundbreaking exhibition Cuban-American: An Empire State of Mind at Lehman College Art Gallery in New York City, tackles tricky themes inspired by the United States: as the familiar homeland for second- and third-generation children of Cuban parents, or as the distant, imagined place that has historically empowered diverse ideologies in Cuba. The larger exhibition was co-curated by Yuneikys Villalonga and Susan Hoeltzel, while the video art programme, presented here, was organised by guest curator Meykén Barreto.

Including works by Allora & Calzadilla, Juan Carlos Alom, Humberto Díaz, Felipe Dulzaides, Luis Gárciga, Tony Labat, Glenda León, and Ana Olema, this is the second in the Proximities series of video works presented by Alice Yard, exploring relationships within the Caribbean region.

Technical support is generously provided by North Eleven.

Curator Meykén Barreto writes:

“The video programme was designed considering possible links between Cuba and America through the work of some artists whose video practice I consider remarkable, and who offer different approaches to the subject: some explicit and others with an apparently tangential relationship. I also wanted to reinforce the idea of a fluid, open, and completely unprejudiced concept of Cuban identity. Therefore I chose works by eight Cuban-born artists for whom video has been a key medium within the scope of their artistic practice, working in a range of genres: documentary, video performance, action documentation, and fiction. I was interested in including works addressing topics such as identity, Cuban and American cultural interferences, history, and contemporary conflicts in the hemisphere of the Americas, among others.”

All are invited.