“Neither here nor there”: The Works of Pinky y Emigrante

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In “Neither here nor there,” Andre Bagoo (for ARC Magazine) reflects on the concepts of monument and ephemerality in the works of Trinidad’s Pinky y Emigrante: Alicia Milne and Luis Vasquez La Roche, Venezuelan visual artist based on the island. Bagoo writes:

All over Trinidad and Tobago, strange sculptures are appearing. Small, angular and at odds with the shapes and geometry of things around them, they look like alien sand-castles beamed down from a space-ship. On the Brian Lara Promenade in the capital, Port of Spain; around the scenic Queen’s Park Savannah; along the busy liming spot of Ariapita Avenue; on an island in the middle of a busy main road or camouflaged on a non-descript pavement that could be anywhere on the island, they provoke stares and wonder. What are they? Where did they come from? Who put them there?

These objects seem to materialize overnight. Though they look like little sand-castles, the sculptures are made out of grey board, wire, fiber rods, and duct tape. Some are covered with bond paper and then sand is stuck on their surface using wood glue. Beneath their apparently casual incongruence, then, is a careful deliberation. This is the work of the collaboration known as Pinky y Emigrante: artists Alicia Milne and Luis Vasquez La Roche with whom I collaborated on a poetry chapbook published recently.

The sand sculptures – which are emblematic of this pair’s public art work – embody several binaries. They play with the idea of monument. They question what is or is not monument in a way that underlines a deeper anxiety that runs throughout their work: what is truly permanent? What is temporary as opposed to fixed? What is home versus a place a tourist is visiting? And who among us will stay and who will go?

The idea of the sand-castle suggests impermanence, yet the stunning sight of something so seemingly fragile remaining in place, day after day, as we go about our daily lives makes us invert the normal relationships and associations we have. Are we the ones who are in flux? Will these small mounds of sand have a better chance of being left behind than we will? [. . .]

This is an obsession that snakes its way through everything both do under the umbrella of Pinky y Emigrante. From mysterious hand-made pamphlets posted in the mail (itself a medium of transit to permanent and impermanent addresses); to broadsheets pasted all over the streets (often as incongruous and temporary as the sand sculptures); a graffiti installation on a wall at the Queen’s Park Savannah (whose buzzing flies and mis-matched patterns and silhouettes seemed to be the antithesis of pretty decoration and monument); and, more recently, in a series of audacious video-work which uses their unique experiences of the Trinidad and Tobago landscape as tools for consideration of flux. [. . .]

For full article, see http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2013/02/neither-here-nor-there/

Photo above: P&E section of the Urban Heartbeat mural, Queen’s Park Savannah, Trinidad (2012)

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