Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Joanna Helfer: works in progress

Tuesday 2 May, 2017, from 7 pm, at Alice Yard

Scottish artist Joanna Helfer has been in residence at Alice Yard since early March, as part of the British Council’s Transatlantic Artists Residency Exchange (#BCTAARE). On Tuesday 2 May, she will present works in progress from her time in Port of Spain.

During her residency, Helfer has been following various threads of enquiry initiated by investigative walks around the city. Responding to the city space and in conversation with the wide range of people passing through the yard, Joanna’s investigations branch off in a tangled array of directions, including examining Scottish connections within the postcolonial landscape, challenging narratives of dominance, power, shame and the gaze, ideas of nationhood and the role of the artist in nation-forming, and the history of photography and its role in the tropicalisation of the region.

Helfer will attempt to follow these threads to form some kind of conclusion through a presentation of video and photography work, writing, map-making and audio recordings. Rather than being a definitive completion of a conclusive residency programme, this presentation will attempt to describe work which marks the beginning of a larger enquiry and in various states of failure and success.

The artist writes:

“Creating work in this context has felt rather like attempting to erect a tent in the middle of a tornado — there are whirling winds which tear up the tent pegs as soon as you think you’ve found solid ground, and sometimes the tent blows away and you spend a few days trying to find it again. The important thing is you are not alone, there are lots of people around you: some are holding the ropes, others pass you pegs or suggest a suitable place to try again. Others advocate letting go of the tent altogether and simply standing still in the middle of the storm. In any case, I am extremely grateful to the generosity and patience shown to me by the artists and wider community of Alice Yard. This is a space where the definitions of failure and success become obscured and where definitions of relationship and community become clarified.”

All are invited.

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