Friday, May 18, 2012

A conversation with Karen Mc Lean

Tuesday 22 May, 7.30 pm 
Artist talk and presentation

In late May, UK-based Trinidadian contemporary artist Karen McLean will be in residence at Alice Yard. On Tuesday 22 May, she will give an informal talk discussing her investigations of local vernacular architecture and the Cadbury Photo Archives, located in the UK, which have allowed her to visually revisit connections between our colonial past and current realities.

During her time at Alice Yard, McLean will be doing research, sharing and discussing her ideas, and developing a new project in Trinidad. The artist’s visit is supported by the Arts Council England and National Lottery England.

Sweet Ethics is a site specific installation sited in Bournville, near Birmingham. This project confronts the way in which philanthropist and businessman George Cadbury is traditionally represented and by extension critiques the ethics of capitalism.

“Relocating to England, I became interested in the interconnected history of the two countries that I have lived in, and the on-going effects of those historical connections.... Of particular interest to me is the vernacular architecture of the Caribbean and the language that these structures express.... My interests in the Bournville archives stemmed from the discovery of a picture of a hut online. I was actually situated in Bournville... it’s where my university campus was, and I had been there for five  years. I had lived in Trinidad for 40 years and had never known that George Cadbury had owned a cocoa estate in Santa Cruz — as a matter of fact he owned two, Ortinola and La Mercia.”