Suzannah Friscia (Miami New Times) writes about five young artists to watch during Miami Art Week 2019; four of them are of Caribbean heritage. The artists are Morel Doucet (Haiti), Maya Freelon (U.S.), Angel Garcia (Cuban-American), Jamilah Sabur (Jamaica), and Kira Tippenhauer (Haiti). Here are excerpts. Please see the Miami New Times article for more information about their shows:
As an overwhelming number of artists, shows, and events flood into town for this year’s Miami Art Week, figuring out what to do is no easy task. Though the best-known names are sure to be the biggest draw, don’t forget to look out for up-and-coming talent to get a glimpse of where the art world is heading. Here are five young artists to keep your eye on this year and in those to come.
Known for his fantastical and sometimes whimsical ceramics combining the human form with natural imagery, Morel Doucet has quickly become a name worth watching. The Haiti-born artist has used his work to examine race and colorism in addition to interrogating the push and pull between cultural identity and assimilation he’s experienced as a Haitian immigrant. Doucet has repeatedly drawn connections between environmental destruction and the experiences of the African diaspora in the Caribbean. [. . .]
Maya Freelon‘s playful and ephemeral experimentations with dyed tissue paper ask us to question our ideas about strength, fragility, and valuableness. What began as the discovery of a stack of stained, watermarked tissue paper under a leaky pipe at her grandmother’s house in 2005 became the basis for years of artistic exploration. Using a complicated dyeing process, Freelon has created quilts and recycled sculptures from the colorful tissue and even incorporated a pottery wheel into her process. The late poet Maya Angelou, Freelon’s godmother and namesake, described the artist’s work as “visualizing the truth about the vulnerability and power of the human being.” [. . .]
The work of interdisciplinary Cuban-American artist Angel Garcia has spanned mediums, including painting, tattooing, wallpaper art, and video and performance pieces. Her work often explores power, identity, sexuality, and the ways people formulate their beliefs around these concepts. In her films, she has challenged the male gaze, reclaimed reductive stereotypes of Latina bodies, and questioned the heteronormativity of the narratives and labels surrounding traditional marriage. She also codirects the microresidency Overnight, which aims to challenge the professionalized structure of artists’ residencies by curating an atmosphere akin to a slumber party.
During Miami Art Week, she’ll show her short film, Psychic Dick, a 2019 commission by Fringe Projects, in the window display of a downtown electronics store. In the 12-minute film, which initially looks like a commercial, Garcia grapples with ideas of capitalism, advertising, and repetitive images used as subliminal triggers to attract customers. She uses bananas to point out the widespread phallic symbolism in American society and to critique its creep into our subconscious.
“The bananas represent an innocent and playful introduction to sexuality in a Caribbean context,” reads a statement on Fringe’s website. “The film ultimately reclaims the banana’s perverted image by overwhelming the viewer with repetition and farce.” [. . .]
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Kira Tippenhauer takes a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to her work as both an artist and a teacher. Her design line, Kiramade, includes handcrafted ceramics inspired by her Afro-Caribbean roots and her birthplace of Haiti and sometimes incorporates additional materials such as rope. Tippenhauer uses the slab building technique, in which smooth clay slabs are either shaped by hand or formed around a mold rather than with a pottery wheel. As a teacher, she offers beginner and intermediate-level pottery workshops at her Little Haiti studio and also works with PAMM’s program Brick x Brick, which aims to reach teens in underserved Miami-Dade communities and engage them through art. Tippenhauer’s work is on view in Morel Doucet’s “Archeology of Memory” exhibit at the Bakehouse.
Jamaican multidisciplinary artist Jamilah Sabur concerns herself with ritual and performance. Her videos deploy images of ceremony, symbolic gestures, and idolized figures as a means of exploring memory and spatial relationships. For instance, her 2012 work Playing Possums reexamined the moon landing as the performance of a ritual dance between two worlds or realms. In other work, she has used a diamond or rhombus shape as a symbol to represent Jamaica and evoke memories of her homeland (she moved to Miami at the age of 4). Sabur is an artist-in-residence at Oolite Arts, and earlier this year she presented a solo exhibition at L.A.’s Hammer Museum and participated in a group exhibit at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).
Sabur’s work will be shown at the second-annual Faena Festival during Miami Art Week. She’ll present Obra, a video installation that invokes Jamaica. Images of a former plantation and mid-20-century mosque on the island are combined with fluttering tapestries — beekeeping suits, white tunics, the Ethiopian flag — all homing in on the theme of memory and how it can spread across geography and time. [. . .]
[Photo above by David Gary Lloyd: Morel Doucet’s “Skin Congregate on the Eve of Every Mountain” at Bakehouse Art Complex.]