Pras Michel of hip-hop legends the Fugees will attend the September 15 opening night gala at the 2015 trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), where the documentary Sweet Micky for President will be screened.

The remarkable story of Michel Martelly’s run to become President of Haiti, Sweet Micky for President will have its Caribbean premiere at the ttff/15. Pras, who is of Haitian descent, is one of the film’s producers as well as its narrator.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the regional premiere of Sweet Micky for President,” said Bruce Paddington, ttff Founder and Festival Director. “This is a brilliantly made, rousing film that affords us the opportunity to acknowledge Haiti and its importance in the shaping of the Caribbean’s history.

“It also affords us the opportunity to welcome Pras Michel, an accomplished son of the Caribbean diaspora, to Trinidad and Tobago and the ttff, as we celebrate our tenth anniversary.”

Directed by Ben Patterson, who will also be in attendance, Sweet Micky for President follows Pras as he visits Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. With no experience or money, he mobilises a presidential campaign for the unlikeliest of candidates: Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, Haiti’s most popular and controversial pop star.

The politically innocent pair set out to triumph against a corrupt government, civil unrest and a rigged election. When Pras’ former bandmate, superstar Wyclef Jean, also enters the presidential race, their chances seem further doomed.

Sweet Micky for President brilliantly captures an important—and improbable—moment in Haiti’s history, as a fledgling democracy battles to produce a government worthy of the country’s status as the world’s first black republic.

The ttff/15 runs from September 15–29. The opening night gala will take place at Queen’s Hall. Tickets for the gala will go on sale soon.

The ttff celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities. The ttff is presented by Flow and given leading sponsorship by bpTT, and supporting sponsorship by RBC Royal Bank, The National Gas Company, National Lotteries Control Board, Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, the Embassy of the United States of America and FilmTT.

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 31, 2015

Saba Carnival 2015


The Saba Carnival 2015 is going strong as we speak, celebrating its 40 year anniversary! The carnival began on July 27 and will continue through August 7. Tonight at the carnival is Latin night—“Reventón Latino II”—featuring Junior Zaa from the Dominican Republic, Mr. Codigo and Alexjota, DJ Urena from St. Maarten, and DJ Daddy Slim from Saba. Here are excerpts of an article on events this past week from Saba News:

Opening night again saw a large turnout like the pre-Carnival shows over last weekend, which is an early indication of continued positive turnout for the remainder of the week. “This year’s slogan “40 Years Still Jamming Strong” says it all. No matter what organizational changes this island event has gone through the past 40 years, the goal has always been to bring our community, along with our visitors, together for days and nights of great music, socializing and fun,” Saba Festival Foundation President Standford Johnson said in his opening statement.

“Mother of Carnival” Carmen Simmons was honoured with a crystal award as a “Pioneer and Culture Icon.” Simmons started Carnival on Saba in 1975. “It is like a dream. I still remember the first year, and I am blessed to still be here at 40 years,” Simmons commented.

The week’s events continue tonight, Wednesday, with “Reggae Splash – Dancehall Invasion” featuring dancehall artiste Cecile from Jamaica and S.M.S Band from St. Maarten. The Miss Dutch Caribbean 2015 pageant will be showcased on Thursday night with contestants from each of the six Dutch Caribbean islands. [. . .]

Latin night “Reventon Latino II” will take place on Friday, featuring Junior Zaa from the Dominican Republic, Mr. Codigo y Alexjota and DJ Urena from St. Maarten and DJ Daddy Slim from Saba.

Jouvert Morning will be held Saturday, followed by day one of the grand parade. Small Axe Band from St. Kitts will be the night’s entertainment following the parade. Day two of the grand parade, which will also conclude the 2015 season, will take place on Sunday. The North Sound International Band will entertain revellers following the parade until the burning of King Momo.

For full article, see http://www.saba-news.com/carnival-pioneers-honoured-2015-season-opening/

Also see more information at https://www.facebook.com/CarnivalSaba

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 31, 2015

Film: “Reinventing Cuba”


Many thanks to Michael Connors for sharing this article by Tambay A. Obenson (Shadow and Act) on the new documentary film Reinventing Cuba by Humberto Durán. The film will be aired on Sunday, August 9, 2015, at 7:00pm EST (nationally on Dish Network Channel 279, and on the ‘CCTV News’ channels in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.) See full article and preview in the link below. Obenson writes about new collaborations in art—specifically in film:

In this case, a documentary that profiles a unique collection of people who are pushing local boundaries and, as the title states, “Reinventing Cuba.”

Per the press release, the one hour documentary goes beyond the stereotypes – beyond cigars and salsa, beyond mojitos and Malecón, beyond antique American cars and decaying architecture to reveal an extraordinary nation eager to embrace change.

Host Gerry Hadden takes viewers on a personal journey. He meets little league sluggers defying the odds and dreaming of the majors; doctors and medical researchers saving lives; hustlers finding ways around limited internet connections; artists and designers at the height of creativity; and black marketeers selling a vital entertainment and information device called “the package.”

Hadden portrays vibrant, hopeful, and resourceful characters facing enormous challenges in today’s Cuba. He reveals an often overlooked, burgeoning, middle class that is at the forefront of what will likely be Cuba’s future as it moves into a new era.

The documentary is directed by Humberto Duran, and filmed by Amando Guerra and Josep Alfero. [. . .]

For original article and preview, see http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/trailer-new-doc-on-cuba-as-us-begins-normalization-with-island-neighbor-after-54-years-20150730

Also see http://www.livetradingnews.com/reinventing-cuba-113571.htm

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 31, 2015

Exhibition: “¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography”


“¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography”—curated by Cuban art historian Iliana Cepero and ICP Curator Pauline Vermare—will be on view at the Southampton Arts Center from August 15 to September 7, 2015. The opening will take place on August 15 from 5:00-8:00pm. This event is free and open to the public. The Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, NY.

Description: This momentous exhibition includes more than 100 color and black-and-white photographs made from the 1950s to the present. ¡Cuba, Cuba! features work by over 20 Cuban photographers including icons Alberto Korda, Raúl Corrales, and Marucha (María Eugenia Haya), and American masters such as Hamptonites Burt Glinn and Elliott Erwitt.

The vintage and contemporary works are drawn mainly from ICP’s collection, the archive of the Center for Cuban Studies, and Vicki Gold Levi’s Cuban collections, and include never-before-seen images and a unique collection of historic artifacts, political posters, and publications.

The opening will include Cuban-inspired food and cocktails and live music from Jazz at Lincoln Center.

This show is organized by ICP and is sponsored by Renee Harbers Liddell and Christopher Liddell.

[Photo above: Tony Mendoza, “Cuban fishermen” from the series Cuba: Going Back, 1996. © Tony Mendoza. Courtesy Lehigh University Art Galleries-Museum Operation.]

For original posting, see http://www.icp.org/events/cuba-cuba

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 31, 2015

Tobago for Tourists


In “Tobago makes a splash with top travel influencers in Toronto and Montreal,” Caribbean 360 reports on the latest Caribbean tourism strategy in Canada saying that “Destination Tobago brought a little island vibe” to Canada recently. The festivities included a performance by Tobagonian pan player Tony ‘Pan Jumbie’ Williams, folkloric dances, and rum sampling. Here are excerpts:

Top travel agents from Toronto and Montreal along with select travel media, and local celebrities were invited to experience the island in style. They got the chance to learn about Tobago’s unique features and off the beaten path charm. Agents, journalists, videographers and bloggers gathered at the exclusive rooftop patio of the Spoke Club in Toronto to enjoy an evening full of surprises. Renowned Tobagonian pan player, Tony ‘Pan Jumbie’ Williams kept guests moving with his extraordinary skills performing everything from current soca hits to modern pop.

Jesille Peters the Promotional Analyst for Tobago in Canada states, “Tobago and her people are beautiful, warm and excited about the uniquely cultural and vibrant experiences we can offer to our visitors. We might be tiny, but we offer world class diving, eco-adventure, and an ideal backdrop for destination weddings and honeymoons.”

Throughout the events, honoured attendees were treated to rum punches and Caribbean inspired canapés. Palettes were refined in a special rum tasting presented by El Dorado, the rum of the Caribbean. Guests sampled the diverse flavours and unique characteristics of the award-winning cask aged rums. The luxurious Tobago chocolate popular with aficionados all over Europe was also a big a hit with the crowd.

Buzz of Tobago’s charming villages and beaches were confirmed by former Major League Soccer (MLS) star Dwayne De Rosario who was in attendance. Already a friend of Tobago, his ‘DeRo’ Foundation runs an interactive youth soccer camp in Tobago each December to inspire and motivate children through teaching soccer skills, leadership, teamwork, education, health and nutrition.

In Montreal, guests gathered at L’Auberge in Old Montreal. The warm evening sun streamed in to the private room inspiring many to dance and a few to attempt the pan under Tony’s laid-back tutelage. Guests were enchanted by the traditional Bellair costume custom made for the event. Some even joined in with the dancer to learn a few steps of the traditional dances still on show at the annual Tobago Heritage Festival. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/travel/tobago-makes-a-splash-with-top-travel-influencers-in-toronto-and-montreal

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 31, 2015

Economists ask “What’s next for the Cuban economy”

Cuba Parliament

Mimi Whitefield (Miami Herald) writes about the 25th annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy—a three-day conference that took place at Florida’s Miami Hilton Downtown this week. The conference theme—“Cuba, What’s Next?”—says Whitefield, generated more questions than answers. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:

The Obama administration has outlined an economic opening designed to increase engagement with the Cuban people, but speakers at the 25th annual meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy said Thursday that the policy’s success depends on the Cuban government’s response and the pace and breadth of its ongoing economic reforms.

The theme of the three-day conference at the Miami Hilton Downtown Hotel was “Cuba—What’s Next?” On Thursday, the theme generated more questions than answers. Vegard Bye, of the University of Oslo’s Center for Development and Environment, said there have been dramatic changes in Cuba in the past 10 years but “today there is more pausa(pause) than prisa (speed) in the reform process, a play on Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s declaration that economic reforms would occur “without haste but without pause.” “I think there is change, but the question is, of course, is it transformative,” he said.

The Obama opening, which comes with the embargo still in place, allows more trade with Cuba and travel by Americans as well as increases in remittance allowances.

It has raised high expectations, said Carlos Seiglie, president of ASCE and a Rutgers University economics professor. But he said those expectations “are not consistent with the fundamentals underlying the Cuban economy.” Among the factors undercutting opportunities, he said, are an unwieldy dual currency system, an overvalued Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), restrictions on Cuba’s self-employed and on resource allocation, and price distortions.

Emilio Morales, president and chief executive of the Havana Consulting Group, added a few more barriers to the list: foreign companies’ inability to directly contract Cuban workers, no free access to the Internet, a scarcity of hard currency, weak international reserves, lack of judicial security and Cuba’s non-payment of international debt. “The Cuban government is the only one that can convert these barriers into opportunities,” Morales said.

[. . .] Cuba will be entering a “decisive period, beginning with the Communist Party Congress next April and extending through the January 2017 National Assembly meeting, Bye said. [. . .] Ernesto Hernández-Catá , an economist and former associate director at the International Monetary Fund, said Cuba should bite the bullet and do its currency unification in one fell swoop, rather than gradually because it fears it would have a chaotic effect and lead to high inflation. [. . .] Luis R. Luis, an economist and consultant, said the measures outlined by President Barack Obama could contribute .5 percent to the Cuban economy in the first year, mostly because of an increase in remittances and in American visitors. But he said, “Cuba needs to make economic changes to accompany these changes.”

For full article, see http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/international-business/article29580784.html#emlnl=The_Americas


A review (and history) of the painting owned by Ponce’s Museum of Art in Puerto Rico.

”Flaming June,” the iconic painting of the Victorian era by Sir Frederic Leighton (1830–1896), has followed a most unusual trajectory. Around the turn of the century, art collector Samuel Courtauld called it, “The most wonderful painting in existence … a gorgeous piece of flamboyance.” Some decades later, when the English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber asked for money from his family to buy “Flaming June,” his grandmother replied “I will not have Victorian junk in my flat.”

Passing from one owner to the next as it was falling out of fashion, “Flaming June” at one point was boarded up behind the false panel of a chimney mantel in a house in Clapham Common on the outskirts of London. It disappeared for decades, until it was mysteriously rediscovered and resuscitated at a most unlikely time, in 1962 when Andy Warhol was painting Campbell soup cans, when Victorian art was stigmatized for being prudish and sentimental.

‘Flaming June’ was inspired by ‘a chance attitude of a weary model who had a peculiarly subtle figure.’

— Sir Frederic Leighton, artist (1830–1896)

The founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Luis A. Ferré, would travel through Europe to buy works for the museum. When he saw “Flaming June” tucked away in a corner of the gallery of the art dealer Jeremy Stephen Maas, he immediately fell in love with the painting. He only had to pay 2,000 pounds ($8,000 today, factoring inflation) to acquire it.

“Flaming June” eventually made its way across the Atlantic, finding its new home on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, where it’s taken care of very well at the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Now, “Flaming June,” coming full circle, is revered once again and can be seen in New York City, on loan at The Frick Collection until Sept. 6.

A Compelling Installation

The painting is aptly hung at the center of The Frick Collection’s Oval Room, and one is immediately struck by the vibrant orange color that Leighton used to depict the semitranslucent drapery on a sleeping woman. Flanked by ribbed columns, which mirror the fluted Ionic pilasters of the painting’s Renaissance-inspired frame, and surrounded by the subtle gray color of the walls, the Oval Room provides a perfect setting for enhancing the painting’s vibrancy. It has also been reunited for the fist time since the 19th century with a 4-by-4-inch oil sketch that Leighton painted to determine the painting’s color scheme.

We are led to wonder about the real woman who posed for Leighton and to the very nature of that most unusual kind of relationship between artist and model.

Senior curator of the Frick, Susan Grace Galassi, explained at a press preview in the month of June (perhaps not coincidentally) how Leighton was a proponent of “art for art’s sake,” whereby the subject of the painting is annulled from any specific narrative, didactic, religious, or political purpose. Galassi wore an intense cobalt blue silk dress—the complementary color to the predominantly orange painting—perhaps as a nod to Leighton, respecting his deliberate emphasis on the formal qualities of art such as composition, form, color, texture, and rhythm.

A Circle for the Intellect and the Senses

A circular composition on a square canvas, “Flaming June” sets in motion a dynamic cycle for the intellect and the senses. “Her body is in a very complex pose,” Galassi said, pointing toward the painting. “It forms a circle and the drapery fills out the circle. If you go from the top of the head, you see how it steps down to the elbows and around. … The form suggests energy in repose. She’s asleep but the body is still very energized,” Galassi added.

The translucent drapery, both revealing and concealing the model’s body, and its vibrant orange color renders her more sensual than Michelangelo’s completely nude “Night” sculpture in the Medici Chapel, or the erotic nude in “Leda and the Swan” by an unknown artist after Michelangelo, both of whom inspired Leighton before painting “Flaming June.”

‘Flaming June’ is inviting and illusive, either fascinating or irritating perhaps for the same reason.

In front of a shimmering sea on a high horizon line, an oleander flower lies on a classically inspired architectural parapet, looming over the woman’s head. Oleander is a poisonous flower, popularly written about by poets of the Victorian era. Leighton had a heart condition—angina pectoris—when he was painting “Flaming June.” Several art historians have suggested that the oleander indicates how Leighton was very much aware of his imminent death. Others have suggested it indicates the dangers of a man’s doomed infatuation with an unavailable woman or a femme fatale.

According to Leighton, “Flaming June” was inspired by “a chance attitude of a weary model who had a peculiarly subtle figure,” Pablo Pérez d’Ors, associate curator of European art at the Museo de Arte de Ponce, said at the preview.

After that spontaneous spark, the rest of Leighton’s creative process was methodical and meticulous. He produced numerous preparatory drawings, which Galassi thoroughly details in the Frick’s catalog of the painting, “Leighton’s Flaming June.” His academic approach and emphasis on classicism was out of fashion in the late 19th century, counter to the impressionist and post-impressionist art movement. “A little bit obsolete for that time,” Galassi said.

President of the Royal Academy and one of the best-known artists in the late 19th century, Leighton finished “Flaming June” in March 1895 in London 10 months before his death. He was the only artist to have been ennobled, and for the shortest period of time. Queen Victoria named him Frederic, Lord Leighton, Barron of Stretton just a day before he died. He remains the only British artist to receive that accolade.

Search for Meaning

“Flaming June” is inviting and illusive, either fascinating or irritating, perhaps for the same reason.

As humans, we are predisposed to find meaning in life, in what we experience and see. The elusive quality of “Flaming June” then pulls us in again and again to question over and over, only to furtively derive at any definitive answer. Who is this sleeping woman? What is she dreaming? Or is she pretending to be asleep? We can’t tell for sure. “Flaming June” is perhaps simply an ode to beauty, giving us the freedom to project whatever we want onto a sleeping woman who was once an artist’s favorite model. It gives ample opportunity to reflect upon one’s own projections.

As it is not connected to any specific story, allegory, or historical figure, if we step back from being mesmerized, we are led to wonder about the real woman who posed for Leighton and to the very nature of that most unusual kind of relationship between artist and model.

Jacob Collins, artist and founder of the Grand Central Atelier, who also paints models, called it “a strange relationship,” because we don’t often spend long silent stretches of time intensely studying another person. “It’s some kind of meditative relationship,” he said during an interview in his home studio earlier this year.

But unlike Collins, Leighton was more immersed in idealizing his model to conform to formal rules of aesthetics rather than representing an exact likeness. In our electronic age, you could say she has been obviously photoshopped to convey a woman less human and perhaps more divine and unattainable in all her beauty.

Leighton designed his house, now a museum, to have three doors: the main door, the servants’ door, and a door designated only for the models. The models’ door led directly to his studio with no connection to the rest of the house, so that the model would not have any unforeseen contact with anybody else in the house, and vice versa. Another unusual aspect of Leighton’s massive house was that it only had one bedroom. A bachelor all his life, Leighton’s private life was exceptionally private. He formed his public persona mainly tied to the Royal Academy as its president, which Daniel Robbins, the senior curator of the Leighton House Museum, described at length in his lecture on June 24 at the Frick.

Robbins noted that the playwright George Bernard Shaw was rumored to have been inspired by the dynamic between Leighton and his favorite model, Ada Alice Pullan, to write “Pygmalion” (later to be adapted for the film “My Fair Lady”), and not only by a classical myth.

The phonetics professor Henry Higgins’s fascination in tutoring and molding the working-class Cockney woman Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” perhaps mirrors how Leighton found Pullan’s working-class background and undeveloped character appealing to his slightly obsessive and controlling personality, Pérez d’Ors said during his lecture at the Frick on June 10.

Pullan met Leighton in 1879 when she was 20 and he was 49. She was also an actress and adopted the stage name of Dorothy Dene, when Leighton became her beneficiary and an enthusiastic supporter of her acting career. Pérez d’Ors said that Leighton’s early depictions foreshadowed her theatrical roles that eventually made her famous.

All interpretations aside and despite its unforeseen trajectory, “Flaming June” displayed in the Frick today “is sort of the ultimate proof that Victorian art has been rehabilitated,” Pérez d’Ors said to the small crowd of journalists at the preview. It has been reproduced in so many souvenirs, she has unexpectedly become a cultural ambassador for Puerto Rico, Pérez d’Ors said. It captivates our imagination and compels us perhaps to take a vacation and a nap by a shimmering sea.

Thanks to Ferré, a man who was true to his sense of taste, despite many questioning his judgment, the pop art movements of the 1960s, or any other passing fashion, we can admire “Flaming June” in New York City for a while.

For the original report go to http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1632584-leightons-erotic-flaming-june-both-fascinates-and-irritates-art-world/?photo=3


In “CIP IN THE CARIBBEAN USED AND ABUSED,” Ricardo Blackman (for the Caribbean Digital Network) explores the Citizenship by Investment Programs of the Caribbean from various standpoints. We emphatically recommend reading the full article on the Caribbean Digital Network site.

The ship of the Citizenship by Investment Programme of the Caribbean set sail in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1984, but the journey, though seen as an absolute necessity by many of the region’s leaders in these very challenging economic times, has been on occasion turbulent. There is, in fact, a school of thought which says that while Citizenship by Investment Programmes may be economically viable, they are reputationally risky, the Caribbean being no exception to this theory. Indeed, following concerns expressed by the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom about transparency and due diligence, at least one of the programmes has had to be re-visited, that’s Grenada’s.

But as recent as Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 (at the time of writing), the Citizenship By Investment Bill was debated and passed in Parliament in St. Lucia, with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Kenny Anthony telling the Chamber that the measure was absolutely essential at this time, while pledging the integrity of the programme.

One of the main reasons for the super rich setting up base in the Caribbean is that the various countries all have programmes to incentivize real estate investment, offering residency permits and citizenship. In fact, in addition to the newly-announced St. Lucia programme, there are currently four Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the region that generate millions of dollars in revenue for their respective governments each year.

St. Kitts and Nevis launched the first Citizenship by Investment Programme more than 30 years ago in response to an economic downturn and offered immediate citizenship to immigrant investors. With the success of the St. Kitts and Nevis programme, in terms of its positive impact on the national economy, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica and Grenada subsequently launched their own programmes.

According to a report commissioned by Arton Capital and the World Economic Forum entitled: Global Citizenship: Planning for Sustainable Growth” there are many different reasons why an ultra-high net-worth individual might seek a second citizenship, including greater stability and security, tax efficiency, ease of travel, higher standard of living, increased options for children’s education, and investment opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

Caribbean countries with a Citizenship by Investment Programme are seen as competitive with all these especially ease of travel. According to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, the Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis passports provide visa-free travel to some 132 countries and territories including all 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone. Dominica and Grenada passports provide visa-free travel to 91 countries and territories including all European countries in the Schengen Zone.

But what are the requirements? [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbeandigitalnetwork.com/cip-in-the-caribbean-used-and-abused/


As curator Julie Chae writes, in “Mettre Noir Sur Blanc,” Cuban artist Juana Valdes explores the global trade and the manufacture and import/export of china throughout history. Through her installations, the artist explores transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory. The exhibition has been on view since July 3 and will continue through August 1, 2015 at the Guttenberg Arts Gallery (so you have a few more days to catch it if you are in New Jersey). The Guttenberg Arts Gallery is located at 6903 Jackson Street, Guttenberg, New Jersey. [Many thanks to Mary Ann Gosser for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description (by Julie Chae): In Juana Valdes’ solo exhibition “Mettre Noir Sur Blanc” (literal translation: “to put black on white”), the artist invites the viewer to ponder the history of global trade through the display of china and other domestic wares she collected for this show. A multi-media installation artist trained in Western post-Modern philosophy and with backgrounds in sculpture and printmaking, Valdes presents a Duchampian project in which the artist’s selected objects become the art. Each of the domestic wares presented embodies the cultural values of its time and place, reflecting aesthetic and economic decisions made by the manufacturer and by various consumers throughout its existence. Having exhibited art installations with maps, ships, sails and various other media in the past, Valdes continues with her latest project to explore transculturation, pigmentocracy, history and memory.

Valdes began exploring the manufacture and import/export of china throughout history during her ceramics residency in Holland in 2012. She discovered that the first corporation ever formed – and the model for many of today’s businesses – was a Dutch trading company created in 1602 for selling china from Asia to European countries. The Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was the first public company to issue negotiable shares, and its hugely successful trade with Asian countries made the Dutch a major global commercial trader. The profitable business of making and selling china for export as well as domestic use spread throughout the world by other companies, and Valdes displays examples of china made in different countries and time periods in the centerpiece of her show, An Inherent View of the World (2015 – ongoing).

Beautifully and wittily arranged on a tall, multi-layered table Valdes built herself using the variety of home construction materials available at Home Depot, these domestic wares reveal a surprising wealth (pun intended) of information about economics, migration, colonialism, valuation, aesthetics, collecting, selling and even women’s history. At one point in the chain of all the economic activity in global trade is the women who purchased and used the china as vessels for food, drink and other sustenance, and Valdes encourages us to think about how the design and decoration of the domestic wares each woman chose for her home provided her children with their first aesthetic experience.

Juana Valdes completed her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1993 and her B.F.A. in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in 1991. She was born in Cabañas, Pinar Del Rio, Cuba and came to the United States in1971. Ms. Valdes’ work has been included in exhibitions at the Hudson River Museum, Art in General, El Museo del Barrio, WhiteBox Gallery, Bronx River Art Center, P.S.1 Contemporary Art, Center and Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, and Nohra Haime Gallery, Newark Museum’s, The Caribbean Abroad: Contemporary Artists and Latino Migration, Un-staged at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam, D’ailleurs – I Won’t Play Other to Your Sameat Galerie Art & Essai, University Rennes, France and many international venues. Ms. Valdes’ is included in Newark Museum’s permanent collection and many private collections in the United States.

[All images courtesy of the artist and Guttenberg Arts: “Juana Valdes: Mettre Noir Sur Blanc” at Guttenberg Arts Gallery (installation view).]

For more information, see https://www.theagoraculture.com/juana-valdes-mettre-noir-sur-blanc/

For more on the gallery, see http://www.guttenbergarts.org/ or contact STUDIO@GUTTENBERGARTS.ORG or call (201) 868.8585.


St. Augustine, Florida, is observing its 450th birthday and there is a flurry of events to pay tribute to the United States’ oldest city. Funny that in all the announcements of activities the noun “Spain” is notably absent. Could it be that calling it the U.S.’s oldest Spanish city could sound misleading or somehow unpalatable? Here is one event that acknowledges Spain by referring to “sangria.” On August 26, Tom Touchton, map collector and founding chairman of the Tampa Bay History Center—where the event takes place—will take visitors on a tour of the exhibit “St. Augustine at 450: A Look at the Oldest European City in the U.S.” [My stress on European. I mean, really. No one seems to have a hard time referring to a “French city”; why should “Spanish city” be so difficult?] In any case, this should be a fascinating tour, especially for those who love maps (like the Repeating Islands team)!

Description: This exhibit includes more than 40 Spanish, French, British and American maps, charts and color lithographs of St. Augustine. Mr. Touchton will share stories ranging from the unusual to the nostalgic, about their acquisition and publication. (Program includes a glass of Columbia Restaurant sangria, garage parking and gallery presentation.)

For original post, see http://tampabayhistorycenter.org/event/sangria-stories-tom-touchton-maps-of-st-augustine/

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