Art. Recognition. Culture. These are the watchwords of ARC magazine, a new Caribbean art venture launched in Trinidad at Alice Yard, Woodbrook, on April 27.
The magazine, which covers Caribbean art, launched its inaugural issue in January and unveiled its second issue in April as part of the Bocas Literature Festival.
“It is our ambition to inspire and give voice to a new generation of independent and emerging artists who remain fearless and fearful while battling the fractions and whole of their varied cultures,” co-editor Holly Bynoe, herself a visual artist, said at the launch. “Thereby becoming part of an entity that has a collective and necessary impact on our shared social spaces and geography.” Bynoe placed ARC in the context of a Caribbean art scene often dogged with difficulties in crossing boundaries.
“ARC is a call to action,” Bynoe said. “For far too long we have been disconnected. Though waves separate us, we must find a way to unify and bring together our disparate parts to realize what we are within this expanding maze.”
“We found it necessary to make the common man and the aficionado aware of the possibility of art, its evolution, trends and ‘personalities’. We also felt the need to provide a forum that celebrates creativity, its determination, dialogue and pleasure,” Bynoe said.
In a press release to mark the launch, Bynoe and co-editor Nadia Huggins, further set out the objectives of ARC.
“The Caribbean has been excluded from contemporary publishing – our archipelago’s geographical constraints, differing political systems, technological and economic limitations make the space especially difficult to navigate,” they noted. “Yet we feel it important to present work within a container that honours the merit and labour of art production. As a collaborative unit of makers we understand what it means to foresee this as an archive and as a cultural capsule preserved for our future.”
“We are attempting to understand our dispersal and the potential of ARC’s collective ideologies and content. Larger ideas of supporting emerging artists throughout the duration of their careers will be our first step in defining the collaborative space we occupy. ARC Magazine is a quarterly, independent visual arts magazine made possible by the subscription and support of its readers. ARC is a projected motion that ascends, moves outward and beyond into a space of curiosity.”
Issue 2 features work by Trinidadian artist Brianna McCarthy (http://briannamccarthy.
blogspot.com) who also displayed her work at the exhibition and spoken-word launch event at Alice Yard last week. Of McCarthy, whose first collage adornes the cover of ARC 2, the editors noted, “Featured artist Brianna McCarthy’s collage and paper constructions strive to redefine our views of the Afro-Caribbean woman; working within repetition and beauty she constructs patterns that challenge the notions of its definition.”
The magazine has a novel approach to its subject matter and to critique, in terms of how criticism and text (including poetry) meet and interact with work in playful, yet also rigorous ways. Issue 2, the editors note, brings together the work of Andrea Chung, a Jamaican visual artist, who takes an ironic look at tourism and its neo constructs in the Caribbean. Writer and critic Annie Paul has partnered with Chung to bring a haunting vision to life. Additionally, A Hand Full of Dirt, the first feature by Barbadian filmmaker Russell Watson, is broken down to its core, and writer/filmmaker Tracy Assing examines funding and organizational structures in place to bring Caribbean filmmaking into 2011. Dalton Narine also discusses how mas man Peter Minshall’s practice presents a poetic revelation of an artist who for decades lost himself in his creations. Detailing Minshall in his genius, Narine provokes, tempts and enchants us with the power of mas. Andre Bagoo also looks at a slide-show of the work of Stanley Greaves in a long essay on how politics is reflected in art.
April’s launch at Alice Yard was well-attended, with Bynoe and Huggins utilizing and successfully engaging with all of the spaces available at the contemporary arts space. The program included poetry from the poet Vahni Capildeo (author of Undraining Sea, Eggbox Publishing), and Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné (a Cropper Foundation resident). Artwork from McCarthy, Rodell Warner, Gerard Hanson, Andrea Chung Manuel Mathieu, Andre Bagoo and Vahni Capildeo, Tracy Assing and Clayton Rhule were a part of the show.
“There is no complete observation or understanding until the whole is present, and if the fracture continues and we remain unable to repair, bond or move as one unit, what will unite our experience?" Bynoe asked at the April event. "There is a deep level failure embedded in the nature of division and for ARC to function we need to embrace and welcome its vision, generosity and unselfishness. We have grown in very different ways but at the center of our encounters and interactions there was always present: concerns about art, its culture and how it can be used as a critical space for questioning positions and ideologies regarding societal roles.”
ARC magazine can be purchased at Paper-Based, Hotel Normandie. Call 625-3917. Copies are also available from Alice Yard (http://aliceyard.blogspot.com