NE7 is just around the corner

From left are NE7 curators: Holly Bynoe and Michael Edwards. Captured by: 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 community.

“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.