Book Launch & Exhibition—“On Being Committed to a Small Place” & “Heartseed”

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Annalee Davis (Barbados) will be at TEORé/Tica (Costa Rica) on October 5, 2:00pm, for the exhibition entitled “Heartseed” and the book launch for On Being Committed to a Small Place. Davis—one of the driving critical forces in the Caribbean cultural scene today—will present the lecture “Loving Difficult Landscapes. Art and Cultural Activism in the Caribbean Context.” The opening and book launch will take place at TEOR/éTica, located at Barrio Amón, San José (north of Kiosco del Morazán). “Heartseed” will be on view from October 5, 2019 until February 15, 2020. Here are details from the press release.

TEOR/éTica presents the book “On being committed to a small place” that brings together six of her essays, while also opening the exhibition “Heartseed,” which brings together a series of drawings made by the artist throughout the last five years. These activities are framed within the celebration of TEOR/éTica’s 20th anniversary.

Both events begin with a talk by Davis titled “Loving difficult landscapes. Art and cultural activism in the Caribbean context” that explores her own hybrid practice as a visual artist and cultural activist, as well as the critical possibilities of art in the Caribbean, including notions of active citizenship and the creation of spaces for sociability, conversation and reflective exchange.

About the exhibition: The exhibition “Heartseed” presents a selection of drawings on 20th century accounting sheets that explore the memory of Caribbean plantations, as well as the links between land and history. Davis places images and representations of botanical elements to obstruct the records of economic activity, invoking different ways of reading these places.

The artist critically investigates representation of the Caribbean as a site of extraction, disease/comfort, soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, among others. In more recent works, Davis challenges the patriarchal subjugation of women’s bodies after their reproductive capacity decreases. The Second Spring series presents the post-reproductive era as a biological dynamic that opens up powerful mystical landscapes and portals that women experience in various ways.

About the book About being committed to a small space: This is the fifth book in the series Local Writings: Critical Positions from Central America, the Caribbean and its Diasporas, an editorial project focused on thinking about how the ways in which we see and make art in the region have been transformed throughout the last four decades. This new book, the first by an Anglophone Caribbean writer, furthers the objective of making available to the public a selection of the most relevant discourses and positions that have shaped critical paradigms in Central America and the Caribbean.

Davis reflects on the critical possibilities of art in a postcolonial and post-independence Caribbean context. This leads her to insistently explore the significance of concepts such as economy, landscape, race, gender, tourism, national identity and plantation economies. Her writing and practice not only examine the past, but also seek to promote platforms for conversation, sociability and critical exchange that see art as a tool to reimagine history, civil society and the public sphere. [This book was possible thanks to the contribution of PINTA Miami – Crossing Cultures.]

About the author: Annalee Davis (Bridgetown, 1963) develops a hybrid practice as a visual artist, cultural researcher, educator and writer. She works at the intersection between biography and history, focusing her attention on post-plantation economies through her involvement with the particular landscape of Barbados. Her studio, located on a dairy farm, operated historically as a sugarcane plantation in the seventeenth century, offering today a critical context for her work that addresses the residues of the plantation. She has been showing and exhibiting her work regionally and internationally since the mid-nineties. In 2011, Davis founded Fresh Milk, an art platform and micro-residences program. In 2012, she co-founded Caribbean Linked, an annual residency in Aruba dedicated to bringing together emerging artists, writers and curators from the Caribbean and Latin America. In 2015, with Holly Bynoe she co-founded Tilting Axis, an independent visual arts platform that bridges the Caribbean through annual meetings. Between 2016 and 2018, she was Caribbean Arts Manager with the British Council, developing programs in Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and has also been a part-time professor at Barbados Community College (2005-2018). She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (1986) and a Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (1989).

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