Art in the Caribbean
Comprising 700 islands, 13 states and 17 dependent territories, and hosting a range of languages including Creole, Dutch, English, French and Spanish, the Caribbean represents a rich and complex set of cultures and histories. Dan Fox asks six artists, curators and writers to reflect on how questions of identity, infrastructure and education shape art in the region today.
“The idea that anything intellectual happens in The Bahamas is anathema to the brand we have projected to the outside world.”
“It is getting increasingly difficult to draw a border around what is Jamaican art – as is also the case in the rest of the Caribbean.”
“Within the region, the contemporary visual arts are battling a legacy of being underdeveloped and underappreciated. There is not an economy of understanding concerning the development of contemporary art, and its evolution has not been supported in practical ways by local governments and federations.”
“Artists in the region are functioning in an arena with a relatively small audience, very limited primary art markets and, in many cases, non-existent secondary markets for contemporary practice. One challenge this poses is that much of the work is appreciated and valued outside of the region, creating a gap between the makers and their homegrown audiences.”
“This question of identity often presents itself to Caribbean art. Artists either seem to address it directly or are determined to avoid it – both of which accentuate the enormity of the issue.”
John Cox, artist, curator, teacher, Creative Art Director of Baha Mar Ltd., and founder of Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts
“There are very few independent platforms, galleries or project rooms. The few that do exist are run by artists, with no specific curatorial or commercial strategy.”
Caryl Ivrisse-Crochemar, founder of espace d’art contemporain 14ºN 61ºW, Martinique, French West Indies
To read complete story and view images pick up a copy of the April 2014 issue of Frieze magazine on newsstands now or read online here.