|From left are NE7 curators Holly Bynoe and Michael Edwards. JODI MINNIS|
If you keep up with us
regularly, you probably know by now that we are restlessly eager to unveil the
Seventh National Exhibition, Antillean: an Ecology. Led by NE7 curators
Holly Bynoe and Michael Edwards, Antillean: an Ecology is a body of works by 51
artists responding to themes of class, race, the economy and privilege.
It is our hope that Antillean:
an Ecology will encourage members of the public to ask questions, reflect on
themselves and enter a space of critical thinking about the implicit and explicit
issues that arise from personal and national identity. Influences like
citizenship, migration, the landscape, slavery, religion and the creolization
and hybridization of the Caribbean and wider world will be explored through
artwork, poetry, a mixture of personal and academic essays and a series of
panels and artists’ talks.
“I think it’s important to understand that we all carry perceptions,
whether they’re race, class, economics. So a large part of the show is to
interrogate these kinds of perceptions we have. I think it’s important for
people to understand that we’re all part of this cultural matrix… And the role
of the artist is to challenge these perceptions, to reframe them, to
re-constitute and retell a different kind of narrative to challenge people’s
perspectives,” explained Edwards.
Bynoe believes the exhibition’s significance and relevance in modern day
society has spoken for itself through the reaction from the local artist
“Initially, when we put out the open call, it was met with a lot of
ambivalence because people have this understanding of race relations in the
Caribbean, and oftentimes it’s very simplistic,” she recalled. “I think over
time, and with a good communication from the entire team here, artists turned
from being ambivalent to being critical about their space, so it was no longer
a surface understanding of how these relations and social concerns play out in
this space but a deep reflection of how it also manifests in personal ways,
social ways, in ways that reflect how they engage with their communities.”
Antillean: an Ecology will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 11.
Those interested in engaging in the conversation on the social, political and
cultural influences on individual and national identity are encouraged to
attend the opening night and panel discussions.