Art Exhibition: “The Visual Life of Social Affliction Gallery”


The opening of the Small Axe Project “The Visual Life of Social Affliction” (VLOSA) takes place on Thursday, August 22, 2019, from 7:00 to 10:00pm at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB), with a welcome by Jamaican anthropologist and the founder of Small Axe David Scott. The exhibition opening is free and open to the public. The catalog of The Visual Life of Social Affliction, designed and executed by Juliet Ali, will be available at the NAGB.

Description: On 3 and 4 May 2018, the curators of VLOSA invited the commissioned artists and writers to participate in a gathering at the Lowe Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables. The objective, in keeping with the overall ethos of the Small Axe Project, and sx visualities in particular, was to put the artists and writers into a conversation that would stimulate the work to come. The photographs in these two galleries represent a selection of the photographs taken of the participants on this two-day occasion.

As a region replete with all manner of social horrors, of painful histories, how do we find ways to address loss and suffering? “The Visual Life Of Social Affliction” (VLOSA), a Small Axe Project, holds a difficult and beautiful exhibition of work that looks into the ways that Caribbean art and visual culture has and continues to engage with these histories and their very contemporary repercussions. From Native genocide to slavery, colonialism and Indian indentureship, VLOSA brings together artists and writers from across the Caribbean and diasporas to delve into powerful work that challenges notions of power itself.

Catalogue: Designed and executed by Juliet Ali, the catalogue of The Visual Life Of Social Affliction, is an aesthetic-intellectual representation of the work of the ten artists and ten writers who participated in this Small Axe Project. But it is much more than this. It also aims to capture in a single document a central concern in the ethos of the process by which the Small Axe Project, as essentially a project of criticism, works with visual material, namely to draw artists and writers into a vital conversation, into a reciprocal dialogue that, we hope, will benefit both. No work of art goes—or should go—without saying.

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