Materialities and Mobilities: A Note on the Political Geography of Contemporary Caribbean Art

Wainwright, Leon (2018). Materialities and Mobilities: A Note on the Political Geography of Contemporary Caribbean Art. In: Ueckmann, Natascha; Brüske, Anne and Bandau, Anja eds. Reshaping (g)local dynamics of the Caribbean: Relaciones y Deconexiones – Relations et Déconnexions – Relations and Disconnections. Heidelberg: Heidelberger Universitätsverlag HeiUp, pp. 143–157.

URL: https://heiup.uni-heidelberg.de/catalog/book/314

Abstract

Caribbean art offers a useful vantage point onto current controversies about the materiality of culture and the geography of movement. Where the rhetoric of globalisation has taken hold in the public funding, exhibiting, and scholarly conceptualising of contemporary art, artists have come to experience a mixed picture of the opportunities that are posed by global flows of money, artworks, and the ideas about them. This is the view taken from a round up of fieldwork conducted since 2010 at multiple sites: Suriname, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, and Guyana, and their connections to the wider Atlantic. I suggest that the ground-level perspectives of artists – formed from their efforts to make art, to make a living, and to create community – offer a political and geographical field. This article sketches out how the current demands being placed on Caribbean artists and their art to participate in movement presents various choices for the study of materiality and mobility, and with the potential to consolidate a sense of Caribbean community through the arts.

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