Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, contemporary art from the Caribbean

By Holly Bynoe Thursday, March 29th, 2012 Categories: Exhibitions, Updates
 

Coming up at Kunsthal KadE, from 26 May to 26 August 2012, is an exhibition entitled ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, contemporary art from the Caribbean’. The exhibition is guest curated by Nancy Hoffmann. ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us’ features work by a representative selection of contemporary artists from all over the Caribbean, from south (Antilles and Surinam) to north (Cuba and Jamaica) and from west (Costa Rica and Panama) to east (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and every island in between.

Nancy Hoffmann: ‘This exhibition is the first in the Netherlands to reveal the whole gamut of contemporary Caribbean art and artists. It focuses on a shared identity, shared history and shared socio-economic conditions: a combination of factors that has produced a certain surreal way of communicating, both in words and images. Or, as Dominican-American writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz so beautifully puts it, ‘It might have been a consequence of being Antillean. Who more sci-fi than us?’ ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us’ is a discursive account of the Caribbean that reveals a kind of common culture shared by all the islands. The exhibition also shows the complexity and diversity of the region. In fact, it may actually be quite wrong to talk about ‘the Caribbean’ at all. We don’t want to ‘frame’ the artists in a geographical context but to centre attention on the account of the region. The exhibition presents facets like its shared history, political conditions, the role of religion and the day-to-day life of the average inhabitant’. The relevance of the Caribbean to the Netherlands is self-evident. You only have to think of the large Antillean, Aruban and Surinamese communities in this country to see that. However, the Dutch art world has so far paid little attention to these ethnicities. KAdE is now leading the way by situating them in the context of the wider Caribbean region.

Catalogue

The catalogue published to accompany the exhibition reveals an additional fact of Caribbean life. The region features different language areas and hence language barriers. The cultural differences between them are rooted principally in the islands’ relationships with their mother countries, past or present: Spain, France, England and the Netherlands. To reflect this, the catalogue is divided into four sections, each prefaced by a general introduction by an author from the relevant language area: Leon Wainwright (UK), Giscard Buschotte (FR/ Haiti), Charl Landvreugd (NL/ SU) and Sergio Villena (Costa Rica).

Participating artists

(provisional list) Oswaldo Macia (Colombia) | Marcos Lora Read (Dominican Republic) | Limber Vilorio (Dominican Republic) | Jorge Pineda (Dominican Republic) | Marcel Pinas (Surinam) | Remy Jungerman (Surinam/ Netherlands) | Jean Francois Boclé (Martinique/ France) | David Damoison (Martinique/ France) | Bruno Pedurand (Guadeloupe) | Alexandre Arreachea (Cuba) | Carlos Caraicoa (Cuba/ Madrid) | Jonathan Harker/ Donna Conlon (Panama) | Jhafis Quintero Gonzales (Panama/ Netherlands) | Edgar Leon (Costa Rica) | Joscelyn Gardner (Barbados/ Canada) | Sheena Rose (Barbados) | Michael McMillan (St. Vincent/ UK) | Pepón Osorio (Puerto Rico) | Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla (Puerto Rico/ Cuba) | Hew Locke (British Guyana/ UK) | Tirzo Martha (Curaçao) | Tony Monsanto (Curaçao) | Ryan Oduber (Aruba) | Jean-Ulrick Désert (Haiti/ Germany) | Mario Benjamin (Haiti) | Eduard Duval Carrié (Haiti) | Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica) | Renee Cox (Jamaica/ US) | Charl Landvreugd (Surinam) | Ana Mendieta (Cuba/ US) | Marvin Bartley (Jamaica) | Leasho Johnson (Jamaica) | Yaima Carrazana (Cuba) | Wendel McShine (Trinidad/ Mexico) | David Bade (Curaçao).

Sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, photos, film & animation ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us’ includes a selection of sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, photos and film & animation works by artists of various ages, some of whom still live and work in the Caribbean, while others have emigrated to the West. For those in the second category, the existence of strong continuing links with the region was a selection criterion.

Title ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us’ The title of the ‘Who More Sci-Fi Than Us’ exhibition is taken from ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’, a book by Dominican-American writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz. Nancy Hoffmann: ‘This exhibition is the first in the Netherlands to reveal the whole gamut of contemporary Caribbean art and artists. It focuses on a shared identity, shared history and shared socio-economic conditions: a combination of factors that has produced a certain surreal way of communicating, both in words and images. Or, as Dominican-American writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz so beautifully puts it, ‘It might have been a consequence of being Antillean. Who more sci-fi than us?’ 

Holly Bynoe
Holly Bynoe

Holly Bynoe is a Vincentian visual artist and writer based in the Caribbean. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of ARC Magazine, and a graduate of Bard College International Center of Photography (2010) where she earned her M.F.A. in Advanced Photographic Studies. Her work has been shown regionally and internationally, and has been featured in numerous publications.