Wednesday, April 20, 2016

AY/24/7: Joshua Lue Chee Kong

Flag of My Mother’s Land

A statement from the artist:

“This flag pays tribute to the work of fellow Trinidadian artist Carlisle Chang (1921-2001) who was a part of the Independence Committee that created the design for the national flag when Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from Britain in 1962. It gives me great pride that another Trinidadian of Chinese ancestry created this iconic emblem. This flag is also a symbol for the Chinese diaspora who came before me in the late 19th century to work on the estates under the British colonial rule and have since made Trinidad and Tobago their home.

“What is this place called home? Is it the place where one was born and grew up, or is it a place where a billion look-a-likes walk around? This flag represents my roots and also my inner conflict of belonging. This feeling of disconnection was particular strong during my artist residency at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing. I was a stranger in my mother’s land where I looked Chinese but did not feel Chinese because I was unfamiliar with the language and to the culture.

“This flag was stitched in China during my time in Beijing. It comprises of found materials that were around my studio, from a street banner that was hung on the sidewalk of the main street to discarded clothing. All the materials were specially selected to represent my notion about China from the Chinese characters on the red banner and the oriental patterns of the cloth.

“In the end I just wanted to say even though my bloodline came from China, I will always be a ‘Trinbagonian’ no matter what.”

Joshua Lue Chee Kong was born in Trinidad and Tobago. He studied graphic design at the Savannah School of Art and Design, where he received a BFA. After graduating, he worked for a year at Alfalfa Studio in New York, developing his skills as a graphic designer. He is presently living in Trinidad doing freelance work in branding, publications and design consultations.

The artist is investigating expanded ideas of national identity, transcending traditional racial and social barriers. He has a keen interest in history and culture and is presently exploring Trinidad and Tobago’s folklore, aspiring to making it relevant to the present global family, while preserving its own cultural uniqueness.

His work had been published in Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, ANNO book, See Me Here: A Survey of Contemporary Self-Portraits from the Caribbean, the Draconian Switch e-magazine, and two of his photographic images appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Kiskadee Bride

A poem by Shivanee Ramlochan
read at Douen Islands: Kiskadee

In the courtyard, all our throats are burst figs.
Each cry is its own tyrant.

Beaks mark the pulse of entrail-love, cooing in yellowflesh.

Call your husband passerine,
feel him flit a goodbye beneath your eyelash.

Call your husband shrike,
sound your mourning bellow in the bill of his last farewell.

Call your husband home,
watch wings strum the hurricane screen,
wet like November in Lopinot,
wetter than a split-throat struck talon hard from above.

In the courtyard at night, close your eyes.

Be yourself braceleted in cagewire.
Be feasted upon by greedy mouth, by guttural swoop.

Hold his small prey in your open heart,
let the whole flock eat you out of the small rooms where you wait
to be made into a triplenotched perch.

Where all his cries in your cleft throat echo yes,
echo bright,

kiss-kill me, kiss-kill me, kiss-kill me,

Carry him home to the cauldron of your canary bed.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Douen Islands: Kiskadee

Saturday 9 April, 2016, 7 to 9 pm, at Alice Yard

Douen Islands is an ongoing, open collaborative project — featuring writers, poets, musicians, artists, photographers, and others — led by poet Andre Bagoo and designer Kriston Chen.

On Saturday 9 April, 2016, Alice Yard will host Douen Islands: Kiskadee, a performance event including words, images, movement, and music, as part of the 2016 NGC Bocas Lit Fest pre-festival programme.

All are invited.