Art Exhibition: “Resistir el paraíso” [Resisting Paradise]

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“Resistir el paraíso” [Resisting Paradise], curated by Marina Reyes Franco, opened on June 8 and will be on view until July 16, 2019, at Pública (located at 1057 Ponce de León Avenue, Santurce) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Participating artists are Joiri Minaya (Dominican Republic), Deborah Anzinger (Jamaica), and Leasho Johnson (Jamaica). Metro Puerto Rico reports:

“Resistir el paraíso” is an exhibition with artists from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic who have created work on the intersections of tourism, sexuality, gender, environmental concerns, music and the Internet.

The exhibition consists of existing and commissioned work that examines preconceived notions of paradise and tourism as a new means of colonization. Through their work in painting, photography, sculpture, video, graphic design, and installation, these artists refer to shared stories of invasion, slavery, and economic exploitation of natural resources. These, in turn, translate into the commodification of their bodies in a western imagination of paradisiacal tourist destinations. The title of the exhibition comes from the book by Bahamian writer Angelique V. Nixon, which analyzes the dangers of living in an imagined paradise so elaborate, and the powerful ways in which cultural workers resist and transform these narratives.

The shared Caribbean experience of the movement from the economic development model of the plantation to the hotel resort makes evident the transition from slavery to the economy of services under the tourist regime. This exhibition explores what happens when the tourism economy also applies to bodies; when sex and desire also become currency. The project of colonialism and empire has left an undeniable mark on culture by configuring the way in which we relate to ourselves, to others, and to nature itself. Through transgression and appropriation, these artists imagine new paradigms of life in the region and its diaspora, by challenging the preconceived notions of what it means to be Caribbean: a colonial and sexualized subject. [. . .]

Translated by Ivette Romero. Read the original (in Spanish) at https://www.metro.pr/pr/entretenimiento/2019/06/06/inaugura-resistir-paraiso.html

Many thanks to Peter Jordens for providing the following additional information:

See more on the three artists at http://www.joiriminaya.com,http://www.deborahanzinger.com and https://www.leashojohnson.com.

Also see https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/exposicionensanturcemuestraelartequedesafiaelparaiso-2498427, https://www.puertoricoartnews.com/2019/05/resistir-el-paraiso-un-desafio-al.html, and https://www.facebook.com/events/332222020681294

[Photo above of Joiri Minaya’s Container #3 (2017) from https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/exposicionensanturcemuestraelartequedesafiaelparaiso-2498427.]

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