Monday, September 15, 2014

A conversation with María Elena Ortiz

Thursday 18 September, 2014, 7 pm, at Alice Yard

María Elena Ortiz is a Miami-based Puerto Rican curator and the 2014 recipient of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean. In September 2014, she will spend a week at Alice Yard as researcher in residence. On Thursday 18 September, at 7 pm, she will give an informal talk at Alice Yard on her current curatorial interests.

Her talk will focus on examples of video and performance art practices in contemporary art, and the possible roles of the curator. Video artists discussed will include José “Bubu” Negrón, Christian Jankowski, Isaac Torres, Nuria Montiel, and other artists making works about Caribbean dynamics.

All are invited.

About María Elena Ortiz:

María Elena Ortiz currently works as a curatorial assistant at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Previously, she worked as the curator of contemporary arts at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City, where she organised several projects, including Carlos Motta, The Shape of Freedom (2013), and Rita Ponce de León, David (2013). She has also collaborated with institutions such as TEOR/éTica, San Jose, Costa Rica; Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco; and New Langton Arts, San Francisco, among others. In 2012, she curated Wherever You Roam at the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California. Ortiz has contributed to writing platforms including Fluent Collaborative, Curating Now, and DaWire. She has a Masters in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts (2010).

About the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award:

The Cisneros Award supports a contemporary art curator based anywhere in the world to travel to Central America and the Caribbean to research art and cultural activities in the region. Ortiz will use the award to visit new and established contemporary art centres, artist initiatives, and film festivals in the Caribbean countries of Aruba, the Bahamas, Martinique, and Trinidad and Tobago. She will conduct interviews with local cultural producers and studio visits with artists to investigate film and video practices with the aim of strengthening the ties between art in the Caribbean and the Diaspora in the local community of Miami, as well as nurturing contemporary approaches to film and video in the region.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Introducing Simone Asia

Alice Yard's current artist-in-residence

To mark the end of her stay in Port of Spain, we invite you to an informal gathering on Sunday 14 September at 6 pm, when the work Simone has made at Alice Yard will be available for viewing.

In August and September 2014, Alice Yard is hosting Barbadian artist-in-residence Simone Padmore, a.k.a. Simone Asia.

A graduate of Barbados Community College (BFA in Studio Art, 2011), she is using her time in Port of Spain to make connections in Trinidad’s contemporary art networks, and develop an ongoing body of work.

She writes: “I illustrate by hand, using pen and ink as my prominent media. I am interested in illustrating concepts about the alter ego and developing my own hybrids or characters using line, space, and detail. I am interested in where my journey as an artist will take me and what other things I can learn and explore in this world, so that I can see my art evolve.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trading Tales: a conversation about history and fiction

with Jane Harris, Lisa Allen-Agostini, and Michael Cherrie
Thursday 4 September, 7.30 pm, at Alice Yard 

Writers Lisa Allen-Agostini and Jane Harris

Trading Tales is a residency programme in Scotland and the Caribbean for writers of historical fiction, organised in August and September 2014 by the British Council in partnership with Glasgow’s Mitchell Library. The programme allows two Caribbean writers and one Scottish writer to explore the historical relationship between Scotland and the Caribbean, as part of a programme of activity for the Commonwealth Games.

On Thursday 4 September, from 7.30 pm, Alice Yard will host a reading and discussion with two of the participating writers, who will talk about their current works in progress, the role of fiction in exploring shared histories, and the experience of the Trading Tales project.

All are invited.

About the participants:

Jane Harris is a British writer of historical fiction originally from Glasgow, author of the acclaimed novels The Observations (2006) and Gillespie and I (2011). During her time in the Caribbean, she will visit Trinidad, Grenada, and Martinique, doing research for her next novel.

Lisa Allen-Agostini is a Trinidadian writer of fiction and poetry, and co-editor of the celebrated anthology Trinidad Noir (2008). She is a columnist with the T&T Guardian and edits the newspaper's Sunday arts supplement. She recently spent three weeks in Glasgow, based at the Mitchell Library, researching the lives of two 19th-century Scottish immigrants to Trinidad.

Acclaimed actor Michael Cherrie will also participate in the event, giving a dramatic reading of an excerpt from Harris’s novel-in-progress.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff -- including 2,000 teachers -- work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An evening with Ajamu

Tuesday 1 July, 2014, 7 pm, at Alice Yard

Ajamu is a London-based artist, known for his photographs depicting black male sexuality. In June and July 2014, he is participating in the first artist’s residency hosted by CAISO (the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation), with support from Alice Yard.

On Tuesday 1 July, from 7 pm, Alice Yard will host an informal evening to welcome Ajamu and introduce him to members of the local arts and LGBTI communities. This will include a digital installation of some of the artist’s recent work, and a short introduction to his activities in Trinidad.

All are invited.

About Ajamu:

Ajamu is an acclaimed London-based artist, archive curator, and sex activist, known for his fine art portraits and unapologetic imagery of black male sexuality and same-sex desire. He works in large-format black-and-white analogue photography and traditional 19th-century printing processes.

His work has been exhibited in various galleries, museums, and alternative spaces in the UK, Europe, and the United States. His most recent exhibition, Fierce (2013), ran at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, and included 25 platinum prints of young Black LGBTQ “movers and shakers” and a 20-minute short film with a selection of the sitters.

Ajamu is co-founder of the award-winning organisation rukus! Federation and the rukus! Black LGBTQ Arts and cultural archive. He is one of the UK’s leading specialists on Black Queer heritage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A conversation with curator Courtney J. Martin

Tuesday 17 June, 2014, 7 pm, at Alice Yard 

Courtney J. Martin is an art historian and curator based at Brown University. In June 2014 she will participate in a short curatorial residency at Alice Yard, exploring developments in Trinidad’s art scene. On Tuesday 17 June, at 7 pm, she will give an informal talk about her curatorial practice.

All are invited.

About Courtney J. Martin:

Courtney J. Martin is an assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University, and the author of lengthy essays on the work of many contemporary artists, including Rasheed Araeen, Kader Attia, Rina Banerjee, Frank Bowling, Leslie Hewitt, Wangechi Mutu, Ed Ruscha, and Yinka Shonibare. In 2012, she curated a focus display of Frank Bowling’s painting at Tate Britain.

Prior to Brown, she was an assistant professor in the History of Art department at Vanderbilt University (2010-2013); Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at the University of California at Berkeley (2009-2010); a fellow at the Getty Research Institute (2008-2009); and a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellow (2007). She received a doctorate from Yale University in 2009. She also worked in the media, arts, and culture unit of the Ford Foundation in New York.

Her writing has appeared in Art Asia Pacific,, Art Papers, Contemporary, Flashart, Frieze, the Getty Research Journal, and NKA. In 2014, she is working on a manuscript about British art and politics after 1968, co-curating an exhibition of post-minimalist art in Denmark, and co-editing a volume of essays on the critic/curator Lawrence Alloway.

Read Martin’s essay “They’ve All Got Painting: Frank Bowling’s Modernity and the Post-1960 Atlantic”, originally published in the catalogue for Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing

The Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing, inaugurated in 2014, is an annual award for an original piece of critical writing on contemporary Caribbean art by a Caribbean writer aged 35 or under.

Established by Alice Yard, the prize aims to encourage new writing on Caribbean art and artists, and to identify emerging voices in contemporary Caribbean art criticism.

The winner of the prize will receive a cash award of US$1,000 and publication in The Caribbean Review of Books. The inaugural prize will open for entries in May 2014, with a deadline of 14 July. The winner will be announced in September 2014 to commemorate Alice Yard’s eighth anniversary.

Download full eligibility and entry guidelines and the prize entry form here.

To be eligible to enter for the 2014 prize, a writer must be a citizen of the Caribbean, whether resident in the region or abroad, and be under the age of 35 on the entry deadline, 14 July, 2014.

Each participant may submit only one entry. Participants need not have a formal background in art history or criticism.

An entry should:

• Be an original piece of writing of no more than 3,000 words, which has not previously been published in print or online;

• Be written in English (or, if originally written in another language, translated into English by the author);

• Examine a work or a series of works by a contemporary Caribbean artist, resident in the region or abroad;

• Be aimed at an intelligent general audience as much as an academic or professional one.

A piece of writing entered for the prize does not have to be a conventional critical essay or review. The prize administrators are interested in writing that investigates different forms and genres, as long as it is driven by genuine critical engagement.

The prize will be decided by a panel of three judges, who will select a winner and two honorable mentions. The 2014 judges are:

Krista Thompson (Bahamas/US), chair
Art historian and curator
Associate professor of art history, Northwestern University

Charles Campbell (Jamaica/Canada)
Artist and curator
Chief curator, National Gallery of Jamaica

Courtney J. Martin (US)
Art historian and curator
Assistant professor of the history of art and architecture, Brown University

The Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing is conceived and established by the co-directors of Alice Yard, Sean Leonard, Christopher Cozier, and Nicholas Laughlin, who will administer the prize and support the panel of judges in their deliberations.

For any queries about eligibility requirements or the submission process, please contact the prize administrators at:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Al Braithwaite: The Limes Installation

Tuesday 13 May to Saturday 7 June, 2014, at Alice Yard
Opening conversation: Tuesday 13 May, 6.30 pm

Al Braithwaite is a British conceptual artist who has been resident in Trinidad since April 2013, having relocated from London. In recent months he has been working out of Alice Yard’s Granderson Lab space in Belmont.

Braithwaite’s new project The Limes Installation opens at Alice Yard on Tuesday 13 May, with an informal conversation in which the artist will discuss his recent work. The Limes Installation can be viewed until the night of Saturday 7 June, when the project will close with an informal get-together.

The Limes Installation is a crop of limes that has been pulled out of the fire. The installation comprises 286 charred fruit. The artist writes:

“As a symbolic device placed in its historic context, the installation continues the tradition of fruit being used in art to symbolise mortal flesh, recalling the Dutch 17th-century Vanitas painting tradition. It revisits this tradition together with an earlier (mid-16th century) tradition of burning heretics during the English Reformation, during the reign of Mary I. The names of the 286 men and women who died for their faith in this way for resisting papal authority are applied to labels on the exterior of the fruits.

“The capacity for the installation to horrify is written into the limes’ seared surface, creating a memorial to aspects of resistance, state-sanctioned brutality, and sectarian tensions among believers. The troubling and potentially heroic idea of self-sacrifice runs through The Limes Installation, and finds traction in the metaphor of the way that a fruit might give its flesh for the dispersal of a seed.

“The black skin of each object is curious in its lifeless, post-catastrophe state, and attests to the depredations and violence visited on its surface. Such a feeling of aftermath reinforces the question of the whereabouts/cultural memory of the absent souls that have been expunged from their physical bodies. The work hinges on a paradox of the action of fire: that it can preserve as it consumes, turning soft ephemeral forms into archival tokens. In this way, fluid and seasonal material can be transformed into a series of turgid vessels, akin, for instance, to the transformation of clay when passed through a kiln. The fragile breakability of the resulting vessels can heighten the sense of care required to maintain each object’s integrity, through periods of political crisis and periods of natural disaster.”

All are invited.

About Al Braithwaite:

Al Braithwaite (b. 1979) is a contemporary artist from London, who works across a variety of disciplines, including sculpture, assemblage, found material, and installation. His work fits into a tradition of conceptual art, recalling Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, and aspects of Orphism. He links his work to an interest in struggle, addressing concurrent themes in geopolitics, ethics, metaphysics, mysticism, and existentialism. He has been resident in Trinidad since April 2013.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Douen Islands: In Forest & Wild Skies

Saturday 12 April, 2014, 8 pm, at Alice Yard

Douen Islands is an ongoing, open collaborative project — featuring writers, poets, musicians, artists, photographers, and others — first launched on All Hallow’s Eve, 2013, by poet Andre Bagoo and designer Kriston Chen.

On Saturday 12 April, Alice Yard will host an event by the Douen Islands collaborators, as part of the 2014 NGC Bocas Lit Fest pre-festival programme. Douen Islands: In Forest & Wild Skies will be a reading of poetry and prose produced as part of an ongoing collaboration around the Trinidad and Tobago folklore character of the douen, a haunted child spirit.

The event will feature poetry from Andre Bagoo and Shivanee Ramlochan and prose from Sharon Millar. This will involve moving images by Kriston Chen and sitar recordings from Sharda Patasar.

The collaborators state: “Douen Islands is a journey, unearthing what is lost — the furtive child foraging through darkened forest; tricked by moonlight into a vacant past; vanishing, like love and blood, into wild skies. A slippery stream flowing out of this post-Independence country, trek into heat, memory, nightmare, dream. Take back the steps we never took. Seek to find.”

All are invited.

Read an interview with Bagoo and Chen about the Douen Islands project at Antilles, the Caribbean Review of Books blog.