Interventions into the Prison Cell and Military Gallery at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society for the Artistic Interventions Exhibition, 2018
In the spirit of the ICOM International Museums Day 2018 theme of 'Hyperconnected Museums: New Approaches, New Publics,' The Barbados Museum & Historical Society invited local contemporary artists to critically engage with its collections through a series of interventions.
Six artists' works were interwoven in the museum's galleries, interrogating and re-contextualizing the historical narratives on display.
Participating artists included:
Photographs of interventions into the landscape, or transformed organic objects
Statement for Burst:
Looking through clothes sold in thrift stores and charity shops in the UK and US, I discovered many discarded articles of clothing with loud tropical prints. Palms, hibiscuses, orchids – the prints were familiar, yet made unnatural in their garish, stereotypical conversion to clothing items; items which had been used and dismissed when they were no longer valued by their previous owners. By shredding the clothes and wrapping the strips around pieces of wire, creating multi-coloured stalks which referenced the tropical imagery but distorted it enough to reinvent it, I install/implant these stalks into unlikely surroundings to see if or how they ‘take root’ in various settings.
They may be reminiscent of living plants/creatures, and can take on a mysterious or sinister quality when wrapping and reaching around objects, despite their inviting bright colours. There is a conflicted sense of wanting to inspect them further, but hesitance to get too close, in case they were to worm their way around and consume the viewer as well – posing the question of whether it is an invasive species, or an organism trying to assert its presence in the midst of hostile conditions.
Statement for the Beaded Leaves:
I first used the concept of beading leaves while I was studying abroad in England. I would take the leaves that had fallen during autumn and winter, seasons I was not very familiar with living in the Caribbean, and change what had become discarded objects into something jeweled and precious. The idea was to impose these bright, vivid objects against the bleak landscape.
What I am doing now has taken the same principle materially, but the new setting and even the new type of leaf completely changes the context in which the work is viewed. Instead of introducing the colourful into an environment it is not usually seen, I took the idea and imagery that is often associated with the vibrant, exotic perception of the Caribbean and exaggerated it - just as the image projected of the West Indies as paradise can often be exaggerated.
I like that you can look at these palm leaves and question whether the leaf underneath the beads is real or not; how much of the stereotypical Caribbean paradise is real itself? And having added this false beauty to something organic, have I taken away what was naturally attractive about it to start with?