Art Exhibit Commemorates Centennial at Frederiksted Museum

A group of Virgin Islands artists and students will display their work depicting the territory’s colonial history, especially the last 100 years as a U.S. possession, beginning next week at Frederiksted Museum and, in June, the Invisible Heritage exhibition will travel to the V.I. Cultural Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Sum more dahn uddahs” by Gerville Larsen will be on display during the Invisible Heritage exhibition (photo courtesy of Monica Marin).

“In the Virgin Islands, 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,” according to Monica Marin, project curator.

“Invisible Heritage: Transfer 2017” opens with a March 24 reception from 6 – 8:30 p.m. at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts and runs through May.

On March 25 at 10 a.m., a panel discussion with the participating artists, several teachers and scholars will focus on the untold history during the last century and how the the exhibition relates. Both events are open to the public.

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The artists who will display work include La Vaughn Belle, David Berg, Gerville Larsen and Niarus Walker from St. Croix. Janet Cook-Rutnik from St. John and St. Thomas’s Jon Euwema will be joined by former St. John residents Edgar Endress and Lori Lee and by Ellington Robinson, previously from St. Thomas.

“These artists help us to reimagine our collective history in powerful ways and transform how we understand not only history and memory, but culture,” Marin said.

Over the past few weeks, students at the St. Croix Educational Complex, St. Croix Central High School, Good Hope Country Day School, Arthur Richards Junior High and the University or the Virgin Islands have participated in workshops to learn about the exhibition and were asked to design a new Virgin Islands flag. Marin expects that more than 30 renditions from the young artists will be displayed at the museum. Over the weekend, visitors will be able to vote on their favorite flag.

The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, the V.I. Transfer Centennial Commission and the V.I. Council on the Arts, The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as days when cruise ships visit and until 6:30 p.m. during Sunset Jazz.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The Caribbean Writer mourns the passing of its esteemed founding editorial board member, Nobel Prize Winner, Playwright, Poet and Artist, Derek Walcott, who passed away earlier this morning. Alscess Lewis-Brown, editor of The Caribbean Writer, states that Walcott’s meticulously woven metaphorical poems and plays captured the essence and spirit of Caribbean expressivity across a spectrum of Caribbean political and social consciousness. Walcott’s support and insight helped to shape and guide the Caribbean Writer’s path over the pass thirty years. For this, we are grateful. We will miss his abiding frank and witty manner.”

    He was a great advocate for the Caribbean. Lewis-Brown shared that in an interview with Walcott in 2014, from his home in St. Lucia, in response to her question about his thoughts on the possible idealism in the notion of pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together Walcott had this to say:
    “Everywhere has division in all countries. I don’t know what the division comes from, but of course there is a difference in things: difference in pronunciation, accent, and stuff like that. Even in little St. Croix there is a division between Christiansted and Frederiksted. Each island has different qualities assigned to it by other islands. However, I think that regionally we are coming together through the products of our creative imagination. The Caribbean Writer is a good example of that effort. So, no. I don’t think we are being idealistic when we talk about pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together. Poets are doing it.

    UVI Professor and The Caribbean Writer Editorial Board Member, Dr. Vincent Cooper, fondly recalls that during the 1970s Derek Walcott either directed or provided advice on the staging of several of his plays in the Virgin Islands. Between 1973 and 1978, he directed scenes from Dream on Monkey Mountain, The Charlatan, and Franklyn, on St. Croix, and later that year on St. Thomas. In 1974 he directed Ti Jean and his Brothers on St. Croix, as well as on St. Thomas, as well as on Tortola. In April 1977, he directed Remembrance on both islands. During the Fall of 1978, he directed Pantomime on both islands. Throughout the Fall of 1979, Walcott taught a seminar on Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville (El Burlador de Sevilla) and Walcott’s adaptation of Molina’s play, The Joker of Seville. Walcott also spent part of the summer of 1979 revising his new play, Marie Laveau, while residing at the University of the Virgin Islands ( then known as CVI) campus.
    Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville and Derek Walcott’s adaptation, the Joker of Seville, as well as Walcott’s musical, Marie Laveau were first produced at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, in November 1979

    Edgar Lake another TCW editorial board member recalls his presence at a Walcott poetry reading in New York Public Library in a poem entitled, “Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s God Mother” published in Calabash, A JOURNAL OF CARIBBEAN ARTS AND LETTERS in Summer 2007. The following is an excerpt from Lake’s poem:
    “ …He reaches for his poems, curled in a coat-pocket – and begins to read, the lady shifts her weight, and clamps her feet about her bags , Walcott caught his breath and leapfrogs to another page He’s accustomed to this silence, pigeons caught in eaves some simile, once winged, and now fretting for the rhyme Walcott, litany-voiced, free-verses about sea-grapes…”

    Walcott has a long history with the University of the Virgin Islands and The Caribbean Writer. Our writers and scholars have been enriched by their drinks at his intellectual and artistic font.

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