Important Themes In Caribbean Landscapes Cultural Studies Essay

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Known especially for clear blue skies, verdant hills, sweltering heat, tropical and subtropical fauna and 'quant' architecture, the landscape of the Caribbean is a well known, much-promoted facet of the region. Indeed, for most of the global population, the image of tiny sun-washed islands and sandy white beaches are the only thoughts conjured at the mention of the region. While these tourist ideals are certainly present on the archipelago of islands, Guyana and Suriname, the physical reality of our space is far from the same.

Although every region is eager to cultivate its own topographical and geographical image via selective or augmented representation, it must be noted that Caribbean landscape portraits are unique in that they represent fragments of a landscape which had already been 'reformatted' over 300 years ago, and has been undergoing constant modification and modernisation ever since.

The transformation of the topography of the archipelago and sibling continental territories began with the clearing of virgin forest into neat estate grids, then led to the introduction of new classifications of trees and shrubs in order to augment and sustain the region's primarily agricultural economy. Traditionally and almost without change, a colonialist, idealistic, decidedly non-modern landscape constitutes the most picturesque view of the region.

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This paper seeks to illustrate the approaches taken to the representation of our landscape by local as well as international artists, in an effort to represent the developing cultures of the islands as reflected in the depictions of their constantly retouched landscapes.

I draw heavily on the concept of the Caribbean Picturesque as used by Krista Thompson [footnote re: "The picturesque, as I use it, refers to

the land's conformity to a tropical vision, to the picture or dream that colonists, tourists, and

local travel industry supporters had of the tropics. While artists working in other geographic

contexts to some degree all created an idealized world on canvas, producers of the Caribbean

picturesque often represented an idealized world that had already been realized on the physical

landscape. While traditions of picturesque landscaping existed in places like England's countryside,

the centuries long and widespread campaign to raze and completely remake much

of the Caribbean environment-from the sugar plantation to the banana plantation to the

touristic transplantation-is specific to the West Indies, the place with the longest history of

colonization in the modern world". - kt pict]

in An Eye for the Tropics, the Caribbean Sublime as put forward by Richard Powell and qualified by Thompson, and Veerle Poupeye's chapter on Nature in Caribbean Art in her 1998 book Caribbean Art. I have also participated in one of the works mentioned and viewed a few first-hand. Many of the images used were, however, taken from books and online sources; indeed, none of the photographs used were taken by myself.

Most West Indian islands achieved independence from colonial powers in the 1970's, arguably by the 1980's the trends which this spirit of nationhood and autonomy had mostly dissipated within the arts. Also, the 1980's is widely held as the advent of the Avant Garde movement in most countries of the Caribbean region. Fiedler?

The primary focus of this thesis are the relevant approaches which were taken in depicting the Caribbean landscape, whether a certain style of painting, an ideal as put forward by the artist, or in some cases, interpreted as sublime via a critical reading. What makes a painting relevant in this study is its significance in portraying the Caribbean to its inhabitants as well as the rest of the world.

The difference between art and documentation is that of subjectivity and objectivity- I am looking at what artists choose to say, why they want to say it\, and why it is important to be said. It is important to note that the topic of landscape art is exhaustive and though I have narrowed it down to three decades of one region's approaches to one subject, many artists and countries- little known and well known- have gone 'unrepresented' or 'underrepresented' in the study. This is because attempts to be politically correct, diplomatic and inclusive resulted in a 'stretching-thin' of many of my premises, and an oversaturation of information and illustration with respect to certain approaches. These include but are not limited to, formal experimentation (art for art's sake), 'jazz art' or paintings inspired directly or indirectly by Le Douanier Rousseau, and the commercial aesthetic. These modes of representation are all outlined, and dismissed, briefly.

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A few approaches have not been mentioned, but this thesis is by no means a thorough attempt to catalogue every theme in Caribbean landscape art; I reiterate that only some of these themes are important in the illustration of the Caribbean landscape with respect to its evolution rather than stagnation.

Although it may be said that the Caribbean region- between its Dutch, French, English and Spanish speaking territories- are disjointed and oftentimes estranged, with respect to things as universal as food, music and art, commonalities- whether contrived or not, do occur. The fact of our recent colonial histories, tropical climates and global perceptions link us all intrinsically, and thus, I have found, the reading of a work done in relation to one subculture within the region inevitably relates or correlates to works done in another.

I must also note that even though the artist's intentions towards the perception of his or work are her taken into consideration, unless state otherwise, i am considering that work independently of the artist's general body of work.

A single work by the artist that may or may not be typical of his or her oeuvre, unless this is stated.

There are also serious practical challenges for the francophone visual artist. The Caribbean

still lacks the internal structures that would allow a free and dynamic distribution of art

in the region. For the most part, there are insufficient numbers of museums, cultural institutions,

dealers, and collectors to sustain a functioning art market. Furthermore, the fact that the

francophone, anglophone, hispanophone, and Dutch islands are isolated from each other, in

terms of both geography and language, tends to lead artists to look primarily to their respective

metropoles for exchange of ideas and distribution of works. The francophone regions are

in the minority in the region: only four out of thirty-eight states or territories. Even within the

"francophone" countries there is considerable diversity: on the one hand, Haiti, whose political

evolution is unique in the Antilles and whose artistic development-through Haitian naive

art, which writers such as André Malraux and André Breton helped make known throughout

the world-has benefited from international recognition, from an artistic point of view. On

the other hand, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guyane are three former French colonies that

became departments in 1946.

-FRANCOPHONE visual art

THE CARIBBEAN PICTURESQUE

Idealisation, Formal Experimentation and Le Douanier Rousseau

in cbbean art, veerle poupeye outlines the role of landscape art in the caribbean. on one hand is the commercial, mass-produced type, and on the other are "artists who have dealt with nature in more complex and reflective ways, for instance through formal experimentation, or by linking it with ideological issues such as environmental conservation or explorations of identity. 

"caribbean landscapes often present an aestheticized and even escapist representation of the realities of the region... however, such works are not necessarily devoid of socio-political content. " 

This idea of aesthetisation and escapism is elaborated in Krista thompson's theory of the caribbean picturesque.

FOOTNOTE:

colonization in the modern world. Importantly, these photographic or painterly representations of the tropics sometimes served to justify further transformations of the landscape. It is this continuous and circuitous recreation and then representation of the tropical dream, and the concealment of this particular and peculiar history of modernity and modernization, which distinguishes the Caribbean picturesque.

- KT Pict

Typical depictions of this type of approach are Janice Sylvia Brock's The Almond Tree and Robyn Knaggs' Garden Flames. These works, characteristic of each artist's oeuvre, illustrate what Veerle Poupeye calls 'the commercial aesthetic.' Their work is apolitical, beautiful and utterly accessible as a 'pretty picture.'

[cite Caribbean Art]

[footnote on what typifies the shitty commercial aesthetic in landscape art re: commercial landscape artists abound in the Caribbean, as much as in any other region of the world. From basic observations in Kingston, Bridgetown and port of spain art galleries, what typifies these artist's work is usually a continuous representation of placid scenes, a focus on picture making and an inability to articulate their interests in the work beyond using 'colour' to express and elicit 'joy.' Few commercial artists 'go on the record' to say that they painted something unoriginal because they needed or wanted the money that it is guaranteed to bring the.]

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BrocK:

[footnote on this trash?: A few years later I visited Barbados and instantly fell in love with the people and the lifestyle, they are so laid-back and happy: very tactile people friendly and always so ready to laugh. I now feel as though I have come home whenever I arrive in Barbados. I love the vibrant tropical colours; the sounds of the sugar cane rustling in the breeze; the sight of palm trees swaying; the passion of the little Gospel churches and the way that the congregation celebrate their faith with such open joy; children dressed so prettily; and the temptation of the rolling waves. I am always left with an overwhelming need to pour these sensual stimuli onto the canvas. Nowadays, having visited Barbados for each of the last 33 years. I actually feel more Bajan than English. Apart from the inspiration I gain for my painting, the constantly warm climate is she very good for my health. Barbados is now my second home.]

The almond tree, with its distinctive shape, is a metaphor for myself; embracing and mirroring the sweep of landscape before me, withits sense of a life more simple and peaceful. The hot vermilion colours reflect the experience of a Caribbean island.

Almond Tree

36 x 40

1998

Robyn Knaggs:

SUBLIME:

- a more complicated picture of the visual impulse to tropicalize might have resulted, one in which revolution, Africanity, creolization, and slavery's violence against humanity and the environment aesthetically unfurl against and confound the conceptual mischief-making of the picturesque.

A term for these manifold interventions in Caribbean visual culture that include the idiosyncratic

viewpoints of the above, aforementioned landscapists is the "sublime."

-Powell SUBLIME

To me, many representations of the Caribbean, of both the sublime and the picturesque, were precisely about the presentation of beauty and its stunning visual effect, which resulted ultimately in the blinding of the viewer, blinding them precisely to the violence, horror, and terror that made the Caribbean.

- KT Pict

This idea of the sublime is perhaps evident in the works typical of Cuban artist TSR and Trinidadian Jackie Hinkson, respectively.

CUBA AVANT-GARDE

P.167

TOMAS SANCHEZ REQUERO

"TSR'S IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES DO NOT bear the labels of rebellion, irony, postmodernism, or kitsch imposed by American academics on the recent artistic fruits of the island. Through sanchez' work we arrive at a utopian space where anguish and politics, the unavoidable disorders of our times., have been miraculously excommunicated."

"His landscapes of the early 80's reflect a baroque, somber style, as in his depictions of garbage dumps, and what has been defined as a landscape of synthesis"- islands, shores, and floods. Above all, Sanchez emphasised the archipelago's immeasurable liquid elements: the vastness of territories flooded by tropical hurricanes the confluences of the rivers and the sea, the islands beyond the horizon and the immensity of natural spaces, depicted from an elevated point of view that facilitates sensory and contemplative immersion."

THE CRITICAL ATITUDE THAT WASTED SANCHEZ DOWN IN THE 80'S WAS DIRECTED GAAINST USELESS GENRES, BUT HIS STYLE MADE A COMEBACK IN THE 90'S BECAUSE OF THE REEMERGENCE OF THEAESTHETIC PARADIGMS OF STYLE AUTHORSHIP AND SKILL. AS WELL AS THE PRESSURE OF THE ART MARKET.

HINKSON:

Sea bathing at mt irvine

Footnote:

Hinkson focuses more on capturing and portraying the essence of a people according to the formal elements of visual art-making; the rules of composition and media which govern classical drawing and painting.

Whatever the connotations of his own art, Hinkson speaks strongly against art which bears ideologies, through his son's introduction in Hinkson's book Drawing for Days.

"Gimmickry becomes overwhelming when these features are used cheaply and serve little other purpose than to attract superficial attention. One of the most noticeable consequences of his is the popularity of "message art," a genre that is particularly vulnerable to cleverness and gimmickry of graphic art. The piece becomes easily accessible to the public because it blatantly and sensationally depicts what it already knows: that the world can be cruel, that the rich often exploit the poor, that not all priests are good people, that there remain pockets of colonial thinking in Trinidad and Tobago, etc."

"Hinkson's honesty does not allow him to sacrifice the fundamental elements of his art (shape, line, colour, density etc) to the demands of message. Hinkson approaches art through technique rather than ideology.

Assuming that art has a function, the debate over what that function is will continue to spawn irrefutable, yet mutually exclusive, certainties of opinion."

Powell suggestively introduces the concept of the Caribbean sublime in his concluding

statements, an aesthetic that draws attention to the "terror-filled quality of beauty, mortality, and tropical splendor." He ponders how we might replace a "Caribbean picturesque" with a "Caribbean sublime." Although he regrets that such a discussion is "too complicated and lengthy a debate to enter into here," I would like to expound briefly on what I see as the concepts' intrinsic connections. In the context of Jamaica and the Bahamas, a consideration of the sublime might actually render the picturesque more visible, for the Caribbean sublime-with its attendant interest in the terror of the plantation, the smoldering aftermath of revolution, the mortality made palpable by the tropical landscape and seascape-represents everything the picturesque was meant to disguise and deny; it was the armature on which the picturesque was tautly constructed. In this respect the sublime always resided within picturesque representations.

-kt pict

Manuel Pin~a Baldoqui`n

Aguas Baldias (waters of the waste land) is a series of 15 images that MP photographed from the Maecon during the ost critical years of the 'speacial period." A waterfront [romenade marking the northern limit of the city, the malecon was transformed- under the migratory impulse- into the most visible border between reality and desire. Inspired by t s Eliot's the waste land the series' title is an expression fo teh artist's own situation at the time. "i took these pictures between 1992 and 1994, during a very dramatic period in Cuba. I felt that I did nnot have many options left in my life nor in my work." (sanders 2002, 3) IS THIS THE SUBLIME?? REF: POWELL

Pina disavowed the documentary basis of his series through a dispassionate attitude: he was not interested in social chronicles. His focus on the Maleco'n, with its cracks like tattoos left by time, its condition of insurmountable horizon, or as the starting point ofr a possible journey, allowed him to reveal an essential aspect of the Cuban soul." A certain awe for the vastness of the space surrounding the island. The restrained chromatic range was determined by both internal urgency and by lack of film. "The Images of humanity overpowered by the sea do not express a romantic identification, but rather extreme frustration in the face of an unbridgeable gulf. The ocean was the claustrophobic border that eliminated escape and, at the same time, deferred all hope.

From the series: "waters of the waste land" 1992-94

La casona gallery, Havana.

Gelatine silver print 41 x 59 in.

Countering this theory are the words of Chris Ofili and Peter Doig: (footnote on their presence here)

Peter Doig and Chris Ofili are two high-profile International artists living in Trinidad. Doig lived on the island as a child, and was invited as part of the CCA7 __. He is now a member of the board, and encouraged Ofili to live in Trinidad and Tobago as well.

"CO We've discussed that image of the Caribbean that's historically been projected-

PD Paintings in Port of Spain galleries and even murals-happy people working the land, happy people at their leisure. It's a view from outside, often painted from inside. You want to question this but however you do it, it can be construed as complicit.

CO Do you mean as a white foreigner painting images of Trinidad?

PD Yes.

CO Because you do see those things. You do drive through Paramin, the countryside, and see people working the land.

PD And you see it depicted in the paintings, the halcyon days of plantation life. They are not like the heroic paintings glorifying the Soviet worker or even Mexican murals, the socialist project. It's a naive type of pastoral, hearkening back to those made in France of similar subjects, like paintings by Millet or some Post-Impressionist."

LE DOUANIER ROUSSEAU

- albert huie to segue (says hes all about art for art's sake, yet refers to LDR)

Use painting of Aubrey Williams'

- poupeye

- mohammed

- Aubrey Williams

Henri "Le Douanier" Rousseau is a French-born "primitive' self-taught French painter who was posthumously venerated for his depictions of jungle scenes. In the reading of Caribbean art literature, Rousseau's name appears a great deal, as his work has influenced types of Caribbean art that are still prevalent today. This is especially interesting as Rousseau "never actually left France. Instead, the exotic scenes he depicted were largely based on the foliage and animals he saw on his regular pilgrimages to the Paris Natural History Museum, and to the botanical gardens and zoo... that surrounded it. Rousseau was also an eager scavenger of images from a variety of printed sources, which he adapted and transformed in his paintings."

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/rousseau/inspiration/

[footnote: rousseau was likely privy to images of the "south American picturesque" which is an idealised vision of the very landscape which some present-day artists still perpetuate.

Aubrey Williams is a Guyanese born painter who, until his death in 1990,

Williams returned to Guyana in __ attempting to capture the landscape in a formal manner which he chose to give up for a more blocky, colourful method of depiction, "thereby joining the multitudes (including Le Douanier Rousseau) who have turned away from the challenge of reading a continental mass that is composed, after all, only of minute, monochromatic two-dimensional units that botanically have adapted to life without light."

HUIE: p.11

In Huie's earliest landscape work, the paintings are put together from preconceived elements. What I mean by that is that the trees, the way their leaves are rendered, and even the figures o, are made from stereotypes the artist already has in his head this gives the paintings a naive char, reminiscent of the work of the great French primitive Le Douanier Rousseau- who is the direct ancestor of what are now called the Jamaican Intuitives. However, this way of proceeding is also a straightjacket for an artist. Indeed, one of the great arguments against the Intuitive movement in Jamaica is that insistence on the artist's 'innocence'- their complete freedom from all forms of outside influence- prevented them from developing.

"Not only is Jamaica densely populated, but... it has been very much shaped by history and its place within the colonial system. What Huie is painting is essentially new terrain, something which essentially has nothing to do with Europe, Asia or Africa, but which takes elements from all of the, se. Dealing with it, the painted has to be as inventive as nature itself.

In general, Huie's landscapes can be placed in one of two broad categories: there are paintings which are essentially evocations of a particular mood- the studies of Poinciana trees in bloom fall into this category, as do the mountain views with their emphasis on lush vegetation, there are also others where the interest is more strictly topographical- that is where the artist has tried to make a kind of portrait of it.

"Some lead relatively solitary lives in remote places. Often, they believe, their work is the result of a divine calling. They do not have formal, art-school educations but instead develop their own techniques to express their ideas as effectively as many professionally trained artists.

These art-makers are the world's self-taught, visionary or, as they are known in Jamaica, "Intuitive" artists. Also called "outsiders" because they operate beyond the cultural mainstream, these art innovators paint, make sculpture or sometimes create gardens or monuments that do not fall into familiar art categories. In recent decades, Jamaica has become known for having produced a significant number of such notably individualistic talents. Some of the Jamaican Intuitives may even be better known overseas than they are at home."

- The vitality of Jamaica's 'Intuitive' artists

By Edward M. Gomez

Published: Thursday, September 2, 2004

The New York Times.

IDEOLOGICAL ART:

FEMINIST:

ART IN BARABDOS WHAT KIND OF MIRROR IMAGE?

JOSCELYN GARDNER

P.241-242

Inspired by petroglyphs at Caguana, Puerto Rico, in 1994 Joscelyn Gardner installed Spirit of Woman: Eye to The Soul (1993) at the Barbados museum. In a representation of the Arawak goddess of fertility and childbirth, Atabreya, "Gardner interprets the Amerindian male-centred ideology of oringin froma 20th century female viewpoint."

"the gallery was transformed into a womb-like watery ambience of deep-blue walls with soothing sounds of lapping waves and chirping frogs." Mixed media graphics of animal deities were mounted formally on the walls, while a "border of damp soil" beneath them ringed the room.

DUTCH CARIBBEAN ART

p. 124

Osaira muyale. "Illusion" figs 107 and 108 for which muyale won first prize at arte 99 is one of her most personal installations. But the viewere who enters her oversized virginal white gown soon forgets he is a prisoner in an iron carcass with her original wedding photos on the floor. In her bosom, hiabove his head is avideo in hi=which the artist is hown floating high above aruba with andre bocelli's time to say goodbye as a musical accompaniment paying in the background.

p.129

Glenda heyliger: In the works she produces in 1999 at the big river workshop n grand riviere, Trinidad, natural materials play an even more prominent role. In the new year fig 112 twelve calabashes hang on vines over stagnant water. "bed over water" which was suspended above the river, was made of mahogany, almond leaves and rope.

ANA MENDIETA:

P129

"stereotypical images of maracas, drums, palm trees, colourful rosters, and Latin lovers were replaced by a fluid conception that internalised the religious components of popular culture and resignified them through contemporary art.

"the ephemeral interventions that she staged and photographed: silhouettes traced on the ground, ancestral marks made in sand and on trees, and manipulations of the elemental energies of water and fire. The obsessive search for a ritual union with nature, achieved through a true austerity of means, attempted to compensate for the psychological damage sustained in her personal biography.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:

"Not surprisingly, many artists address environmental issues in their work, but since concerns about the environment have also become fashionable it is often difficult for artists to find a balance between attention-seeking opportunism and genuine activism."

- Veerle Poupeye

Blue Curry

Scleractinia Faviidae Future Tecnoformis (2006)

Mixed media

This installation "magnifies environmental issues that are typically buried under the government's developmental machine." A piece of coral which the artist found in Abaco, an island undergoing rapid modernization, has been implanted with a two-inch television screen displaying "footage of the removed coral."

"The piece visualizes the complex balance between conservation and destruction, nature and technology, the past and the future.The presentation of coral once common in the Bahamas as a rare specimen forecasts a future where the only place such marine forms will be "preserved" is on television or through other

visual technologies".

-NE3

Annalee Davis

The things we worship, 1992.

A large polyptych depicts the misappropriation of agricultural land and by extension Caribbean culure an didentity. For davis, teh turning over of cane fields to golf courses and housing developments is an act of betrayal in which not only the rural landscape but also cultural traditions and self determination are being sacrfificed to the highest bidder. Symbols, painting in a very direct manner using bright, often garish colours, confronts viweres head on with issues they would rather sweep under the carpet. Agri sci colin Hudson asked to recite national anthem while interjecting stats and observations on declining agri indust. While davis encircled him wrapping him long strips of gauze beginning at his feet and working upwards. By the time he finished, he was muffled.

SOCIO-POLITICAL ART:

BRICOLAGE

Arte povera and the avant garde

The figure of the bricoleur and the concept of cultural bricolage are introduced by Claude

Lévi-Strauss in The Savage Mind. In contrast to the engineer who proceeds in an abstract,

methodical, and scientific manner, Lévi-Strauss defines the bricoleur as someone who proceeds

in an improvisatory fashion.4 For the bricoleur, Lévi-Strauss says, "the rules of the game are

always to make do with 'whatever is at hand,' that is to say with a set of tools and materials

which is always finite and is also heterogeneous."5 The work of bricolage is contingent on all

the occasions there have been to renew or enrich the stock or to maintain it with the remains

of previous constructions or destructions.6 Bricolage is a mode of interpreting and adapting

existing materials to new circumstances or needs. While the result may be a new or reformulated

myth, tool, a house, a language, or a discourse, it is important to note that Lévi-Strauss

does not see it as a deliberate project-oriented view, but rather as an adaptive mode of being

in the world. Bricolage refers to a process, a mode of activity or being in the world, and the

result, the object, text, or outcome of this activity.

-knepper, BRICOLAGE

TAKING BACK THE PLANTATION:

Wilson lay plant specimens that slaves and local residents used to treat venereal diseases

across a Victorian bed. Further, calling attention to the importance of horticulture and

botany, for the first time in his artistic practice he planted a garden as part of the exhibition.

Wilson interestingly is among several contemporary artists currently working in the Caribbean

who make the process of planting and botanical knowledge part of their artistic practice.

Thompson claims that this exhibition aids in "a radical formulation of a decolonizing art history, one devoted

not only to contrapuntal readings of black agency but one that demands broader shifts in

conceptualizations of the very idea of landscape and land-scaping, of artistic processes and

aesthetic production."

- KT Picturesque

KCHO (ALEXIS LEYVA MACHADO)

P 121-123

In LA ISLA DE MIS SUENOS, A RESPONSE TO early dutch cartographers and navigators engravings of every detail of cuba's navigational features, kcho portrays the island not as terra firma, but a lifesaving device; a truck tire similar to those used by Cuban rafters in their hazardous journeys towards the coast of florida. In 1990, with the evaporation of the Soviet Union, the entire nation of Cuba seemed "heeled over with no lights... in the midst of the Caribbean sea,"

JOSCELYN GARDNER

ART IN BARBADOS

p. 241- 242

For the 23rd Sao Paulo Biennial, Gardner created Virtual Omphalos, (1996) in an attempt "to reconcile Caribbean identity with the global information age. The image of the web serves as a link between the two. In the Amerindian creation myth it is through a large spider's web that our earth is viewed from Ahpikondia, or Taino paradise below.... But this image also evokes the World Wide Web, the Internet which penetrates our society....

The large, white octagonal room which housed this installation is described as the 'uterine universe.' Projected images of the sea and surf [a pun on the term 'surfing the web'] wash against the walls, simultaneously casting the viewers' shadows against them. We become part of the environment but we are ephemeral, transitory impositions. The mound of earth fixed in the centre of the room is Barbados... Gardner reconfigures geography from our perspective."

ANNA SERRAO:

Claire Tancons.

http://storage.smallaxe.net/wordpress/2007/07/20/lighting-the-shadow-2/#more-113

"If Trinidad is that almost invisible dot onto the map of the world, lost among foreign oil ships almost bigger than it is, who would this tempest in a teacup matter to? What Serrao could put out in plain words she could not put out in plain light. Not because light is lacking in the Caribbean. Rather, because there is too much of it and it creates shadows so big that they can cover the island so small, so small that the island can itself become a big shadow, " writes Claire Tancons.

This sculptural landscape depicts one of the three hills in Southern Trinidad after which the country was named (La Trinite) by Columbus. With the use of 'tacky' materials commonly found in Trinidadian homes, a duality in contemporary perceptions of the landscape is implied; "Faux-marble but not marble, copper but not gold, plastic and Plexiglas, are the materials that render the artifice of preciousness and lushness that so much attracted the colons. Today they are the artifices with which contemporary Trinidadians cover up their miseries, expose a borrowed taste or simply exhibit pretense."

Photos by Che Lovelace.

BLAH BLAH, WHERE THE IMAGE OF LANDSCAPE ART CAN BE USED TO COMMENT ON THE STATE OF ART ITSELF.:

In a recent print Bahamian artist Dionne Benjamin-Smith took a reproduction of an oil painting

of a familiar picturesque "Bahamian scene" and sprayed the words, like a graffiti artist on a

clean wall, "no abstract art here" across it (fig.1). The work-which uses a quote from one of

The Bahamas' highly regarded photorealist artists-is a not so subtle commentary on the status

(or non-status) historically of abstract, expressionistic, or conceptual art in the visual culture of

The Bahamas.

-NE3

GLOBALISATION

Introducing Global Memory

ANNIE PAUL:

expat gaze

ref: p. 38 in 1998 veerle poupeye wrote:

"It is impossible to assess the developments of the late eighties and early nineties without considering the commercialisation of Jamaican art during that period, a by0product of the growing prosperity of the business sector. New galleries opened at a fast rate and catered to the growing number of corporate and private collectors. Commercial success allowed several artists of live 0ff their work, but ... the marketing of art as a commodity proved particularly difficult to reconcile with the traditional socio-political content of Jamaican art. With the current crisis in the financial sector, this market has now largely dissipated and most of the new galleries have closed. This has left Jamaican artists to their own resources, which has certainly contributed to the current introspective mood."

- MODERN JAMAICAN ART

Then they fucked up and became irrelevant (patois: native versus global)

And this is why tt represents what is most super relevant now.

This is: international, global scenes.

OFILI- INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND THOUGH GOES INTO HIS WORK

REF: bomb, JUDAS. UNIVERSAL THEME BASED ON A TRINIDAD LANDSCAPE

COZIER- WORK CHANGES EVERY TIME HE SHOWS ABROAD.

REF: tropical night.

Chris cozier:

Tropical night

"This brown-ness or dark-ness--this sense of the night or of the recessed/repressed or the dark or in shadowed space that is not between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with intermittent clouds, as seen on the postcards. But, this is what I know or feel often."

Another rendering of this quality of the light in the Caribbean nighttime is Cris Cozier's Tropical Night.

"...200 drawings on paper, each 9″ x 7″ and hung in a grid, secured to the wall with binder clips and simple pushpins."

- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/community/blogosphere/bloggers/2007/08/29/a-delicate-balance/

Accompanying the assemblage of drawings is a blog, which features an ongoing discussion from May 2007 to January 2010 between the artist and writer Nicolas Laughlin. Formal, organised, yet highly illustrative and representational., the work signifies, perhaps, the territory that Doig thinks "might not be [his] to use"

http://tropicalnight.blogspot.com/2007/05/sequence-1.html

CHRIS COZIER ON BEING 'RELEVANT'

The past and recent history of public monuments highlights some of the larger predicaments and challenges about the production and discourse of art in the island and in many parts of the Caribbean generally: as a region seemingly long caught in between artworlds and empires, how do Caribbean artists use

visual vocabularies from a wider artworld to create art representative of their subjectivities, localities, racial constituencies, and histories?

They consider too whether, given the current "age of globalization" and the long history of the Caribbean artist's engagement and participation in the global artworld, national (and regional) narratives of

"Caribbean art" have reached their end.

The way I see it, these local concerns place me in a larger, less anxious and competitive

domain in which a kind of empathy can take shape between myself and others in countries

and cultures facing similar challenges and manipulations in the fast-expanding global economy

and social order. Maybe on islands people look inward and outward simultaneously.

-cozier FEAR

PETER DOIG ON DEALING W/LANDSCAPE

TALK ABUT HOW HE IS A 'MEMORY ARTIST' RATHER THAN A MESSAGE ARTIST.

AND WHY HIS WORK IS SO WELL RECEIVED- EMOTION? SUBTLETLY? TENSION?

PD I was trying to find a way to interpret what we've been seeing in the boat: Trinidad's north coast and its incredible landscapes and caves, archaic spaces, natural cathedrals, and chasms, strange pelicans, and islands covered in their white shit. And trying to make paintings about this, this past year, just from my head without using any photographs; it was too wet to take a camera. I made a small painting that was shown at SITE Santa Fe that is much closer to what I want to make. The mood is very simple. Strange things happened when rubbing the color down or trying to correct it. It has representative elements, but it's more primal than that. It's getting away from the photograph. It's a big jump for me. The mood of the painting has always been important, but now to try to get the same mood with a different method-

--- use terry boddie to segue into TDAGE

THE DIGITAL AGE

New Media and New Inclusiveness

Because of new modes of representation, new perspectives and considerations are being brought into the concept of the Caribbean Picturesque, or the sense of the Caribbean landscape.

Respatialisation via architectre and film:

Mimi Sheller outlines modes of "liquid architecture" being introduced to the Turks and Caicos islands which purport to adapt to(a decidedly foreign view of) a sense of the physical and landscape. Commenting on the profusion of 'island-themed resorts' on Caribbean islands which perpetuate a stereotype of Caribbean landscape as perpetuated by, for example, the portrayal of Dominica in the film The Pirates of the Caribbean, Sheller concludes by asking:

Do the histories of fragmented territoriality in the Caribbean and the

legacies of small-island states make the region especially vulnerable to the current processes

of respatialization in ways that other regions may be less subject to? And, finally, can a better

understanding of the history and current conditions of spatiality in the Caribbean help us to

re-think contemporary urbanism by attending more carefully to the city's others-the islanded

non-citizens marooned on the abject ex-urban edges?

Filling Gaps in Arctitectural History:

What force or forces must act on architectural, urban, and landscape policymakers in the

Caribbean to demand that these shrines or artefacts are included in the architectural history

and culture of the region?

- ouditt, kutiyas

Photography and ImageManipuLation:

Within the recent West Indian trend of vintage photograph displays, Fernandes Industrial Centre, by way of In2Art gallery in St. Ann's Trinidad, hosted 'The Spirit of Trinidad' from March 23-30, 2010. 

The collection of silver gelatin prints is from a 1957 Fernandes and Co. photographic competition as part of the promotion for Vat 19 rum.  [footnote: "The competition was open to anyone with a camera," the gallery informs, although in 1950's Trinidad, cameras belonged to mainly the upper class.  ]

Exhibitions of landscape and portrait photographs taken before independence serve not only as

 In2Art Gallery, "The Spirit of Trinidad" MEDIA RELEASE. March 13, 2010

Fred Wilson uses incisive visual juxtapositions to decolonise art history:

In the same vein as his other work AT WHAT MUSEUM WHEN?, Wilson "reinstalled parts of the museum's collection using many prints and drawings that date from the seventeenth through Nineteenth centuries... pairing lithographs of bucolic plantations by Joseph Bartholomew Kidd with patois commentaries on the scenes or watercolor paintings of orchids with an embossed piece of stationary featuring a weeping slave-the truth-value of the colonial archive was not only troubled but its organizing structures of invisibility were often rendered legible.

- KT Picturesque

And graphic art:

Because of its mechanical nature, the camera seemingly captures time and thus renders

memory transfixed and static. On the other hand, mark making is an act of imagination,

or of recreation and activation in the present. Issues of exile, migration, globalization, and the

role of memory in retaining cultural traditions inform this process. The layering of images and

media is also a central device in these works. It implies the accretion of history and memory,

as well as the competition between "subjective" and "objective" voices for narrative space.

-Terry Boddie, the residue of memory

PHOTOGRAPHY AND STREET ART:

"Simple statements through art are priceless and when written on the walls of the street

become unavoidable. I observe the freedom of minds willing to scribble. I hasten to photograph

them before they disappear."

- zacca street art

New inclusion:

Valuation/ evaluation of Africanised modes of landscape representation.