art in all its forms

art in all its forms


Art. Recognition. Culture.

Introducing ARC. SEE website here. READ CRB blog piece with ARC's editor in chief Holly Bynoe and the magazine's creative director Nadia Huggins here.

FROM THE ARC website:

ARC Magazine is a quarterly Caribbean Art and Culture print and e-magazine published out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by artists Nadia Huggins and Holly Bynoe. We are endeavouring to form a creative platform to offer insight into current practices across the burgeoning creative industries, while bridging the gap between established and emerging artists. Within the recent motions of integration there is a critical space developing where, for the first time, we can envision a converging nexus of artists who want to share their creative experience.

ARC Magazine presents a formula, an experiment and an imaginative body of curated work that exhibits the trajectory and the motion of artists who practice within the region. Within our collective networks, we are finding it necessary to make the common man and the aficionado aware of possibility of art, its evolution, trends and ‘personalities’. We also feel the need to provide a forum that celebrates creativity, its determination, dialogue and pleasure. It is our ambition to inspire and give voice to a new generation of independent, DIY and emerging artists who remain fearless while battling the parts, fractions and whole of their varied cultures. At ARC we want artists to negotiate their own space by offering a neutral ground that will license discourse and varied creative insights into the mind of an artist.
ARC is a projected motion that goes up, outwards and beyond into a space of curiosity.

Wrestling with the Image


The Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) announces the opening of Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions, an exhibition of contemporary art from twelve Caribbean countries.   Featuring work by artists from the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, the exhibition is curated by artist and curator Christopher Cozier and art historian Tatiana Flores.

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions presents works in a variety of media, including photography, video, painting, graphic arts, sculpture, and installation.  The scope of the objects demonstrates how the region’s contemporary artists are confronting stereotypes about the Caribbean without denying their own surroundings or rejecting the worlds in which they operate.   Through investigations on history, tourism, globalization, popular culture, and gender, these artists urge us to reconsider our own expectations on how a Caribbean image should look.

Characterized by scholars as “the laboratory of globalization,” the Caribbean is a multifaceted locale that transcends geographic boundaries.  Its culture has European, African, Asian, Latin American, and Native American roots.  It is not surprising, then, that several artists in the exhibition explore themes of migration, the spread of culture, and global citizenship.  For co-curator Christopher Cozier, “this is a conversation about movement in the Atlantic world—a dialogue about dispersal rather than displacement.”  Many of the artists themselves no longer live in the Caribbean, residing in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia; nevertheless, their experiences are the result of complex historical, economic, and cultural processes that are part and parcel of what it means to be Caribbean.

Past and present, local and universal, and self and other are among the dichotomies addressed in this exhibition.  Marlon James’ blunt and direct portraits depict young people who look like they could be from anywhere.  Ebony Patterson’s provocative portrayals derived from Jamaican dancehall culture—with its ironic face bleaching and androgynous fashions—are equally global.   By contrast, Joscelyn Gardner engages the historical archive. Her series of hand-painted stone lithographs Creole Portraits III pays tribute to faceless women victims of slavery by depicting a typical African hairstyle juxtaposed to an iron collar.   Among other images conjuring colonial history is Nikolai Noel’s drawing Toussaint et George, in which Haitian liberator Toussaint L’Ouverture and George Washington seem to stare each other down on equal footing.

In John Cox’ paintings of boxers, the notion of the prize fighter as confident and infallibly masculine is turned on its side.  The works introduce unresolved tensions by depicting subjects fighting against their doppelgangers or striking their own faces.  Heino Schmid challenges that status of the image as a conveyor of meaning.  In the case of his Temporary Horizon video, two glass bottles momentarily keep one another standing, but then fall.  A man’s arms and waist appear on screen, and he puts the bottles back into place.  They fall again, and the anonymous man’s Sisyphean task continues.

As a group, the works in the exhibition demonstrate the dynamism and creativity of the current generation of Caribbean artists.  According to co-curator Tatiana Flores, they also “allow us to reflect on our own assumptions and preconceptions regarding   the meaning of place, the articulation of difference, and the construction of past and present.  Whether they challenge, delight, frustrate, or disgust, these images provoke a reaction.”

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions includes work by John Cox, Blue Curry, Kishan Munroe, Heino Schmid, (The Bahamas); Ewan Atkinson, Joscelyn Gardner, Sheena Rose, Tonya Wiles (Barbados); Santiago Cal (Belize); Pauline Marcelle (Dominica); Roshini Kempadoo, Hew Locke (Guyana); Maksaens Denis, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Barbara Prézeau-Stephenson (Haiti); Charles Campbell, Keisha Costello, Marlon James, Ebony Patterson, Oneika Russell, Phillip Thomas (Jamaica); Terry Boddie (Saint Kitts and Nevis); Nadia Huggins, (Saint Lucia); Holly Bynoe, (Saint Vincent and the Grenadindes); Sri Irodikromo, Patricia Kaersenhout, Marcel  Pinas, Dhiradj Ramsamoedj, (Suriname); Nicole Awai, La Vaughn Belle, Marlon Griffith, Jaime Lee Loy, Richard Fung, Abigail Hadeed, Nikolai Noel, Rodell Warner, and Natalie Wood (Trinidad and Tobago).

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions forms part of the About Change emerging artists’ program, an initiative of the World Bank in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, the OAS, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.  About Change is a series of juried exhibitions of contemporary art from Latin America and the Caribbean that will take place throughout 2011 and 2012 at different venues in Washington, D.C., including the World Bank, the Art Museum of the Americas, and the galleries of the Inter-American Development Bank.  It has been organized by the World Bank Art Program under the auspices of the World Bank Vice Presidency for Latin America and the Caribbean Region.

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions
On view January 21‐March 10, 2011

Art Museum of the Americas
201 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Hours: Tuesday‐Sunday 10 AM‐5 PM Friday, January 21 at 12 noon: Gallery talk and exhibition previewFriday, January 21 at 6pm: Opening receptionFriday, March 4: student symposium on Caribbean art in conjunction with George Mason University and Caribbean in Transit JournalMarch 1‐10: Caribbean film series



Black Swan is a cruel and terrifying film. It plumbs the depths of one character’s fears and insecurities and makes us reflect on our own. It is not at all concerned with ballet, but rather the study of a character who achieves tragic proportions. And as with all tragedy, it is built upon one character’s fatal flaw.

“The only thing in your way is you,” the artistic director of a New York ballet company tells Nina (Natalie Portman). The artistic director is Thomas Leroy (played Vincent Cassel) and he issues this advice at a crucial point in the film.

One of the strongest aspects of Black Swan is how it is not about the world of dance, even though it is anchored in it. To say that it is filled with dance-movie clichés is to miss the point. Here is a thriller that is more Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion rather than The Red Shoes. The film is almost certainly set in Nina’s mind as she pirouettes to a breaking point that is possibly physiological or psychological—or even both.

The plot follows an agonizing sequence of events that unfold from the moment Nina is unexpectedly chosen to dance the Swan Queen, the principal role of the Swan Lake. She must overcome several fears to liberate herself artistically and mentally and the key to this liberation is something unstated and hidden, though in plain view for us to see.

Part of the impact of this film comes from its star: Natalie Portman who communicates Nina’s delicacy, anguish, ache and innocence with a poignancy that is at times painful to watch. Her portrayal anchors the film within a subterranean world filled with Freudian impulses that at times almost overwhelm the viewer, mirroring a similar process that arguably occurs in Swan Lake itself. 

The first time I saw the film, I thought it cruel: too painful and tragic. Helplessly, we watch Nina make crucial mistakes, and hold our breaths in fear that she will literally fall with every step she takes. Why would a director (Darren Aronofsky, who did the equally poignant Requiem for a Dream) want to subject viewers to something like this?

But then, as I watched a second time, I felt that perhaps my reaction was my own. Perhaps Aronofsky has achieved that which art achieves best: trouble and terror. On second viewing it became clearer that a key cipher in the film is Nina herself. As with the great heroes, almost everything that stands in her way is a creation of her own making. Her navigation of this, and the beauty that she discovers at great pains, are both the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

RATED: 4 stars ****