Imagining the islands

The Caribbean is defined through art at the Brooklyn Musuem

Christopher Cozier: The Castaway, mixed media on paper. Photograph courtesy Christopher CozierHew Locke: Eldorado, mixed media. Photograph courtesy The West Collection, Oaks, PA

Brooklyn has long been recognised as a melting pot of Caribbean culture in the United States. Many Caribbean migrants call the borough home, and their annual Carnival stays true to its roots.

Beginning August 31, the Brooklyn Museum will host an exhibition titled Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, which examines how the Caribbean is defined, as both a real and imaginary location. It includes nearly 80 works in a wide range of media, by some 50 emerging and established artists, with ties to 15 countries in the Caribbean region.

Tumelo Mosaka, assistant curator of contemporary art and exhibitions, says, “The Brooklyn Museum has been at the forefront of showcasing Caribbean art. This began in 1978, when it organised the landmark exhibition Haitian Arts, and later presented Caribbean Festival Arts in 1990. It’s therefore appropriate for us to continue this tradition, since it is a part of our larger mission of presenting the rich artistic heritage of world cultures.”

All of the works were created in the last six years, and explore the recent social and political changes occurring in the Caribbean. The exhibition includes work by Hew Locke, who has ties to Guyana, but lives and works in London; Nicole Awai, a Trinidadian living in Brooklyn; Jean-Ulrich Desert, a Haitian artist, who divides his time between New York City and Berlin; and Quisqueya Henriques, from Cuba, who lives in the Dominican Republic.

Mosaka says the artists were selected primarily on the basis of their works, from which four themes (history and memory; politics and identity; myth and religion; and popular culture) have been identified.

These works include mixed media, paintings, photography, prints and other works on paper, video, installations, and sculpture. They are made from materials that range from traditional media to industrial objects such as discarded tyres and plastic plates.

 

Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art will be presented at the Brooklyn Museum from August 31 through January 27, 2008.