Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pablo Delano: The Museum of the Old Colony

Friday 19 February, 2016, from 6 pm, at Alice Yard

The Museum of the Old Colony, an installation by Puerto Rican artist Pablo Delano, appropriates historical imagery and challenges established protocols of museum culture. The project derives its name from a brand of soft drink named Old Colony, popular in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. Old Colony (the beverage) remains available at island groceries and restaurants in two flavors: grape and pineapple. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has endured 523 years of ongoing colonial rule — first under Spain, then the United States, since 1898. The island, an “unincorporated territory of the US,” is widely regarded as the world’s oldest colony.

The installation employs still photographs and moving images of Puerto Rico — along with their original captions or descriptive language — created mostly by US photographers, mostly for the consumption of a US general public. With sardonic humour and wit, the project references traditional historical or anthropological museums and their use of ethnographic imagery and didactic text panels.

The Museum of the Old Colony is as much an exploration of history as it is an intensely personal exercise by Delano to understand and come to terms with his own relationship with the island, where he was born in 1954.

The installation opens for public viewing on Friday 19 February, 2015, with a reception and conversation between the artist and Alice Yard co-director Nicholas Laughlin. The Museum of the Old Colony will remain on view until 26 February.

The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the conference Turning Tides: Caribbean Intersections in the Americas and Beyond, co-sponsored by the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

All are invited.

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Doh mix meh up" Sharelly Emanuelson

Monday 15 February, 2016, 7 pm, at Alice Yard
Sharelly Emanuelson will present her video, "Doh mix meh up" and share information about Uniartean arts organization, founded by the artist, in Curacao.

Sharelly Emanuelson (b.1986) is a filmmaker & video artist based in the Dutch Caribbean. She acquired her B.A. in Audiovisual Media from the School of Arts, Utrecht, followed by a M.A. in Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Her first documentary film “Su Solo I Playanan” (2010) won an audience award at the Africa in the Picture film festival (2012). With her latest video installation “Doh mix meh up” she won the 2014 Royal Academy of Art Master award. Shortly after “Doh mix meh up” was shown at the Oxford University. Emanuelson’s artistic research, is concerned with two interdependent inquiries - materializing the effects, formations and entanglements of the colonial, hyper industrial period that erupted after the post-plantation world in the Dutch Caribbean territories and exploring the capability and incapability of representing Caribbean reality and sensibilities. She looks into traditional & alternative (hi)stories and landscapes to develop her own awareness about creole spaces – a transatlantic and interdisciplinary understanding of the world I/we experience today. Bringing together her research, collected material and the spectator’s experience the artist attempts to construct new contextual discourses that often remain on the verge of nonexistence.
Video still from "Doh mix meh up." 2014
In the context of Aruba’s 60th Carnival celebration, the work,"Doh mix meh up," uses Calypso & Roadmarch songs together with the discussions surrounding this event as a metaphor for negotiations on Aruban identity and nationalism, which keeps reinventing itself. Aruba seemingly has a “nationalism” that “fortunately” is not being shaped (according to conventional ways) because of its condition of constant negotiation. The “we”, referring to; the island Aruba, the community or the individual is incapable of giving an exact definition. This constant negotiation is thus a manifestation of diversity that shows us a fundamental characteristic of the Caribbean. The “we”, “nos”, “Rubiano”, “Rubianonan”[1], is an ongoing negotiation of the diversity of its people. In the search of identity, the collective unconscious recognizes an “under the surface” link and this manifests itself as seeing Trinidad as a prototype to follow. Apart from the existing link the Dutch Caribbean has with the Netherlands the work hints at the historical link Aruba has with Trinidad & Tobago. Together with Curacao, these three islands experienced a hyper industrial period, which was brought on by the arrival of oil refineries. The hyper industrial period is a link that the collective unconscious recognizes as a new beginning.
[1] Rubiano, Rubianonan means Aruban, Arubans in the Papiamentu language.

See more on the artist's work here