The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) invites the public to “Invisible Heritage: Transfer 2017,” a visual arts exhibition curated by Monica Marin and featuring recent work by Virgin Islands artists who are actively engaged in a conversation about the islands’ colonial history. This history includes the last 100 years as a U.S. colony as well as the legacy of previous centuries. Themes of resistance, migration, identity, erasure and visibility — as it relates to the structural history of colonialism and the ways it is manifested today — are among the topics that inform their work.
This large scale, multimedia exhibition will include works by La Vaughn Belle (St. Croix), David Berg (St. Croix), Janet Cook-Rutnik (St. John), Edgar Endress (Va. formerly St. John), Jon Euwema (St. Thomas), Gerville Larsen (St. Croix), Lori Lee (Fla., formerly St. John), Ellington Robinson (St. Thomas/D.C.), and Niarus Walker (St. Croix). The show will also feature a presentation of student work featuring designs by island students for a new V.I. flag.
“’Invisible Heritage’…addresses the ways in which vernacular culture — Creole architecture, music, dance, folk tales and other cultural forms — reveal the blind spots and hidden story of our colonial and imperial history in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Power works through historical discourse. In the V.I., the Danish perspective of the colonial narrative has primarily been the focus of our history, thereby creating blind spots that conceal the African Caribbean contributions to our cultural landscape…,” said Marin.
This second phase of the project culminates with a visual arts exhibition featuring contemporary artists from the region who have begun to reframe the narrative through their artistic interventions. The Centennial provides a platform of visibility allowing them to take a critical look at the stories, events and people that have been excluded and to celebrate the rich, African-Diasporic vernacular traditions that were created despite the many restrictions imposed by colonialism. These artists help people to reimagine their collective history in powerful ways, and transform how they understand not only history and memory, but culture.
The exhibition will include a public art component and a student engagement workshop at which students’ work will also be on display. Visiting artists and scholars, along with V.I. artists and teachers, will conduct several student workshops in the high schools.
The opening reception for the group show will be held from 6-8:30 p.m., Friday, March 24, at Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted. A panel discussion, composed of artists and scholars, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 25, at CMCArts. This exhibition is scheduled to travel to the V.I. Cultural Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, in June.
The public is invited to attend the opening reception and the artists’ talk at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (772-2622).