Black Diaspora Visual Arts Symposia
The Frank Collymore Hall
This conference was part of a series of symposia and exhibitions that explore visual art within the question of Diaspora. It was a major collaboration with the National Art Gallery Committee in Barbados, AICA Southern Caribbean and the Arts Council of England.
The conference took as its starting point Stuart Hall and the question he poses in his essay “Modernity And Its Others: Three Moments In The Post War History Of The Black Diaspora Arts”. Where there is an analysis of the three "moments" in post-war black British visual arts.
The main contrast identiﬁed is the ‘problem space’ of the ‘colonials’ who were anti-colonial and came to London after World War II to join the avant-garde. Cosmopolitan and modernist in outlook the second generation were the ﬁrst ‘post-colonials’ born in Britain and pioneered the Black Art Movement. The creative explosion of the 1980s was anti-racist, culturally relativist and identity-driven.
In the work of the former, abstraction predominated; the work of the latter was politically polemical and collage-based, subsequently embracing the ﬁgural and the more subjective strategy of ‘putting the self in the frame’.
The generational shift is mapped here in relation to wider socio-political and cultural developments, including the growth of indigenous racism, the new social movements, especially anti-racist, feminist and identity politics, and the theoretical ‘revolutions’ associated with them.
The contemporary moment is less politicised and artistically neoconceptual, multi-media and installation based and was also discussed.
The symposium explored some of these themes in Stuart Hall’s paper with particular reference to their applicability to the contemporary Caribbean context and the relationship of our contemporary moment to earlier developments.
❍ Is there a Caribbean canon?
❍ Can we discuss a Caribbean aesthetic in the 21st century?
❍ What are the institutional models?
The National Art Gallery Committee Barbados was established for the benefit of all. The committee continues to pursue a vigorous and socially inclusive outreach programme and caters for the needs of all groups in society.
Speakers and artists included:
Alissandra Cummings (Chairperson National Art Gallery Committee, Director Barbados Museum) Steve Blackett (Minister Of Community Development And Culture, Barbados) David Scott (Columbia University; Editor Small Axe) David A. Bailey (MBE, Senior Curator Autograph) Stuart Hall (Cultural Theorist, Professor Emeritus, Open University, London) George Lamming (Professor Brown University) Lowery Sims (Museum Of Arts and design, New York) Veerle Poupeye (Edna Manley College Of Visual And performing Arts) Krista Thompson (Northwestern University, Illinois) Leon Wainwright (Manchester Metropolitan University) Allison Thompson (National Art Gallery Committee) Kara Walker (Artist) Teka Selman (Branch Gallery, North Carolina) Richard Powell (Duke University, North Carolina) Dominique Brebion (President, AICA Southern Caribbean) Christopher Cozier (Artist) Paul Domela (Programme Director, Liverpool Biennial) Andrea Wells (National Art Gallery Committe, NCF) Alfredo Jaar (Artist) Ewan Atkinson (Artist) Ingrid Persaud (Artist) Arthur Edwards (Artist) Frances Ross (Artist) Indrani Gall (Artist) Joscelyn Gardner (Artist) Caroline Holder (Artist) Trevor Mathison (Artist) Gary Stewart (Artist) Ingrid Pollard (Artist) Sheena Rose (Artist)
“Is what you see what I see?”
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