Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Transmission/distortion: A re-reading of C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins

Saturday, 10 June 2023, 12 noon to 5 pm*
24 Erthig Rd, Belmont

A re-reading of C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins

This upcoming Saturday, June 10th, you are cordially invited to join us at Granderson Lab for a re-reading session of C.L.R. James' renowned work, "The Black Jacobins," in the company of video artist and filmmaker Ésery Mondésir.

"When I arrived here three weeks ago, I was perplexed by the enthusiastic smiles that greeted me when people learned I was Haitian. It wasn’t the usual “poor Haiti” I have faced many times in other settings. Instead, the folks I encountered associated my homeland with ideas of pride, freedom, and justice. It struck me as peculiar until Christopher [Cozier] reminded me that C.L.R. James hailed from this very land. Suddenly, it dawned on me that Haiti, as both an idea and perhaps an ideal, had long been embedded within the ‘Trini imaginaire.’

As author Millery Polyné emphasizes in his work 'The Idea of Haiti,' there is no singular, unified notion of Haiti. While it may symbolize freedom, justice, and equality for the “the wretched of the earth,” the “brutes,” and the “rebels,” Haiti continues to stand as a "monstrous anomaly" in the face of colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy to paraphrase Nick Nesbit.

Which particular ideas of Haiti have permeated and continue to permeate Trinidad and Tobago? How do ideas diffuse through the intricate web of social and political contradictions? What are the mechanics of transmission or distortion of transformative ideas? How do we leap from revolutionary ideas to liberatory gestures that generate new ideals? Can we go beyond criticality? These questions and others will shape my residency at Alice Yard this spring.

On Saturday, we encourage you to bring your copy of 'The Black Jacobins.' We will engage in collective readings and invite you to share your favourite passages.

All are welcome.

*Readings may be recorded.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Defying the Margins

Friday 3 June, 2023 / 6 to 10 pm / Granderson Lab

Defying the Margins brings together works by established and emerging artists, designers, and writers from OCAD University in Toronto, Canada and the artistic community at Alice Yard in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Defying the Margins embraces interdisciplinary approaches that explore the Caribbean as a space rather than a place, grounded in community and land-based practices. To defy the margins is to question hierarchies of power and influence. Whether the margin functions to keep something in or out, how can we reposition ourselves to see beyond these pre-determined boundaries? The artists here showcase completed and developing works related to ritual and performance, collective identity and diaspora, as well as the natural, artificial, conceptual, and sonic [environs/environments] of Alice Yard and Port of Spain. Some artists focus on the body as their medium, while others experiment with a variety of technical processes and their creative applications. Defying the Margins facilitates a collaborative exchange between Alice Yard and OCAD University, inviting students and professional practitioners into the same space for a period of two weeks. The resulting exhibition is the product of this exchange, which has positive implications for all participants on a social, cultural, and artistic level.

Curated by Madalyn Shaw. With special thanks to Christopher Cozier and Esery Mondesir for organizing.