Embodied Islands is a photography exhibition bringing together the past and the present in the Caribbean Region, one of the most creative regions for visual art and photography–James Rodger writes in this review for The Coventry Telegraph.
Black History Month celebrations are kicking off at the Belgrade Theatre with the launch of a Caribbean photography exhibition, Embodied Islands, which runs from October 4 to October 28.
The exhibition has been put together and curated by Associate Professor Dr Fabienne Viala, Director of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick.
Embodied Islands is a photography exhibition bringing together the past and the present in the Caribbean Region, one of the most creative regions for visual art and photography.
The exhibition is running along-side a series of events, talks and workshops exploring the history and heritage of the African-Caribbean community to mark Black History Month this October.
Associate Professor Dr Fabienne Viala, Director of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies said: “The exhibition presents a fusion of historical 19th century stereoview photography and contemporary visual art by award winning Caribbean photographers, providing a rare opportunity to learn about post-colonial Caribbean life through the history of photography.
“We invite viewers to explore the different narratives behind photography as an artistic form, the historical and cultural context of the islands and modern day Caribbean lives.
“This exhibition is a vision that contrasts very contemporary Caribbean photography, with archives of over 200 images taken in the 19 Century. The exhibition aims to show how photography can be self-empowering and how the medium of photography can be an approach to resilience and reparation.
“The four contemporary photographers featured are all award winning, visitors to the exhibition will experience first-hand their very personal and individual approaches to the Caribbean landscape and environment.”
The exhibition consists of two different visual elements.
Two hundred stereoviews (the ancestor of photographs) taken at the very end of the 19 century across the Caribbean Region are contrasted with work by four award winning contemporary Caribbean photographers.
The archived stereoviews represent a historical witness of the plantation system and act as visual triggers to reflect on how photography was used as a tool to justify the exploitation of the workers’ body as a commodity during this time.
Embodied Islands contrasts this with the works of four contemporary Caribbean artists, whose photographs challenge the ways in which the human body is represented in the Caribbean.
The Belgrade Theatre are holding a number of workshops around the exhibition, looking at colonial imagery of the Caribbean, juxtaposed with new bold images of the Caribbean Islands embodied. Suitable for school groups as well as for the public, this exhibition aims to raise awareness of a number of engaging topics including the history of photography, Colonial history and slavery, geography and multicultural Britain.
The exhibition and workshops will also provide the opportunity to explore historical and cultural similarities between English, French and Spanish speaking islands within the Caribbean.