Artist Statement

I see my art practice as an investigative tool, as a way to engage in dialogue, a platform for thinking and a means to develop knowledge. My work has evolved from figurative and symbolic explorations in painting to a variety of modes that include drawing, video, performance, installation and public intervention projects. Therefore, the emphasis of my work does not lie in the medium, but in creating a space to explore social contexts and collective narratives. History, film, soap-operas, fairy-tales and mythology all inform my work in that they are both narrative modes that I use as well as sites of investigation. I look for the narratives inscribed in various objects and places and find ways to add to them and at times subvert them. Because I live in the Virgin Islands, a place that has changed colonial hands seven times, the longest being Denmark and the last being the United States, I am particularly interested in the colonial and neocolonial narrative and how it shapes identity, memory and reality. (return to website)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Navigating Monarchies and Mythologies and what I'm doing in Denmark for these next 3 months

I am currently on a 3 month residency in Copenhagen. My living arrangements are provided by the Nordea Fonden and the rest is self-funded through the sale of artwork and commission projects. That's a pretty amazing statement to make as I am also here with my 3 children (ages 9, 7 and 4) and my mentally challenged older brother. There was a time in my life where this seemed impossible, so I am very grateful to be in this space realizing projects and sharing that with my family.



I am here working on several projects as the fervor of the centennial year and the anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark is still quite ardent. Upon leaving St. Croix I was busy finishing a new piece for an exhibition at the GL Holtegaard.  The process of how this piece materialized is quite interesting for me. The curator had requested another piece that was not available as it was recently sold to another institution and was on permanent display. The curator pushed me to think about possibly making an edition of the piece which after thinking about it I decided against it, and then later pushed me to think about creating another work that was similar. I say all of this because most of my projects are quite self-generated. It was quite unique to have someone from the outside push me in that way and I am to happy say it expanded my practice. I am grateful to Marie for challenging me and believing in me. And am looking forward to seeing the piece installed. The exhibition is entitled "Colonial Stories: Power and People" and I am thrilled to be a part of it. The piece I am exhibiting is entitled "On The Service To A Kingdom" and its in reference to the series of dessert service plates that were commissioned by the King of Denmark in the 19th century to depict his Kingdom. 

There were 81 in all, and there is only one that directly depicts the former Danish West Indies, a plate of St. Thomas bay and harbor. What is curious about this image is that it looks like all the other landscapes in color and there seems to be no record indicating that the artist actually travelled to the colonies. So this image stands as an imagined space, and I have replicated it across 45 paper plates in acrylic. It was a challenge for me because although I work across a variety of media, I have started painting again over the past 3 years with my Chaney paintings after a 10 year hiatus. So I grew a lot with this work. I am very happy about this. 


In a week I am also about to start a commission project with the Royal Copenhagen, the famous Danish brand of porcelain products. This has been a courtship in my mind of about 2 years with me pitching a project last summer to use my Chaney paintings as an inspiration for a Centennial commemorative plate. It was a real pitch meeting, like the kind of meeting where after someone lets you know how rare it is to even get a meeting with them, and tells you all the different kinds of proposals they receive on a weekly basis they look at you and say: "So who are you?". Although the Centennial plate was off the table because the company no longer makes those kinds of plates anymore, I was invited to do the Årets Harald  or "Harald of the Year" prize. The prize is a figure of an owl decorated by a different artist each year and is given to the most esteemed professor of the University of Copenhagen and presented by the Queen of Denmark. I am quite excited about this.

 Although the Royal Copenhagen has a long tradition working with artists I figured I was the first Virgin Islander, and then was told I was also the first black artist. In addition to the "Harald" the Royal Copenhagen is assisting with the production of a series of plates based on my Chaney paintings that will be exhibited at the Christiansborg Palace in an exhibition entitled "Behind Colonial Mirrors"  I will be showing alongside three other artists and several of the royal collections of objects and furniture that deal with the former Danish West Indies. I am also quite grateful for this experience and the opportunity to be able to be a part of the conversation about the history. The queen will also be formally opening this event which I think is quite significant as the exhibition is entering into a critical dialogue about the history. 

I am also working on the uncertain archives  project with the Department of Cultural Studies at University of Copenhagen. This is the entity that helped to facilitate my Nordea Fonden residency. Over the past several years a team from the Danish National Archives have been digitizing the millions documents that represent the archives from the former Danish colonies in Caribbean. The hopes are to make this shared history accessible to everyone and the availability of these documents will coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States in 1917. However, there are structural challenges that are embedded in the creation of such a digital archive: questions surrounding authority, authenticity and subjectivity. I have been invited to create a new work that deals directly with the archives and some of these issues surrounds these questions.


I am also working on a public sculpture project with Jeannette Ehlers. It is a hybrid sculpture that combines two of our previously conceived works into one large scale piece. This requires its own blog post because it is a major project and very complex and multilayered. However, to say something briefly, the piece is inspired by Queen Mary, one of the leaders of the 1878 labor revolt in St. Croix and incorporates coral stones imported from St. Croix that were cut from the ocean to build the foundation of the colonial structures. I'll put a link to the post on the project as soon as I write one.

I also will be working on another commission project with the Flensburg Maritime Musuem, a border town in Germany that used to belong to the Danish empire and who is the originator of the Danish yellow bricks very popular in the colonial structures of the islands. Flensburg is known for the place where the rum was imported too, they even still have a rum regatta I am told, although they don't seem to have much memory of where the rum originated from. The director of the museum wanted to change this by creating an exhibition that dealt with this complex history and has invited me to create a work inside the exhibition.


(pause for a breath)

And I'll be doing some talks and workshops at some institutions along the way and writing, and seeing endless exhibitions and eating a lot of Danish pastries and going to parks and the zoo and Legoland and other things with my kids.






Follow me on
Instagram: lavaughn_belle
Twitter: belleonblast






Sunday, March 19, 2017

Press: ON THE POLITIKEN ARTICLE THAT CAME OUT ON MARCH 9, 2017

On Thursday, March 9, 2017 just a day before my exhibition, "Ledgers From A Lost Kingdom" opened in Copenhagen, this article appeared in the Danish newspaper "Politiken". The reporter had interviewed me on the Monday, March 6. It was a unique interview. I quickly realized that the angle would be around the Centennial of the sale and transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the US. She had been writing about these issues over a year and a half she told me. However, this particular interview was very different. We had as you could say "a moment" and it's captured pretty well in the article. Below is the article as it appeared in print in DANISH the ENGLISH TRANSLATION.

However it is the impact the article had and the overwhelming response that it received that was truly a surprise. Since it's print I have received dozens of messages, emails and even personal apologies. There were several people who came to the opening to embrace me and apologize.  I even witnessed my first hate blog post about me. It seemed that the tone of the article and the timing penetrated something in the Danish collective consciousness. Of course I wished that the interviewer focussed a bit more on my art, however I realized that the reason she was interviewing me was because of my art. It's what gave me the platform to speak, so I am grateful. It was a very Danish framing of the article, this question of whether or not they should apologize for their colonial endeavor of slavery. For me as is discussed in the article my response if very measured: an apology is appropriate. In the context of our conversation I spoke first about people in the Caribbean reckoning with how they got there, understanding the history that placed us in these islands in the Atlantic ocean. I describe when that process started happening for me as a young girl and the pain that understanding brought. I also say that everyone needs to have this process of reckoning in how they played a part as a part of the healing process. This is where the reporter questioned me if everyone should apologize, to which I answer yes, as everyone needs to participate in this reckoning. I was concerned when I saw the title of the article- "Artist from St. Croix to the Danes: Indeed, I believe everybody should give an apology"- taken out of the context of our conversation I knew when I said that it would be controversial, or at least perceived as such. However, the reporter does a good job of putting it back inside the context of our conversation. So of course it got many people to read the article and then I believe allowed them to participate in the conversation with us. It's really something to read.




ENGLISH



Article from Danish newspaper Politiken
Artist from St. Croix to the Danes: Indeed, I believe everybody should give an apology
Denmark should do away with its ' colonial loss of memory ' and its slave past, the artist La Vaughn Belle from St. Croix believes, who now opens a solo exhibition in Copenhagen. It is necessary for us to heal past traumas, she says. Otherwise are allowed to affect the present.

CULTURE 9. MAR. 2017 AT 09.40.

After heavy rains they come up. Of the ground, on the beach, in the gutter. Old shards of white porcelain with blue flowers. Small blue fluted china relics of the colonial era, from the days when the three Caribbean Islands Saint Croix, Saint Thomas and Saint John were under the Danish colonial rule.

The broken fragments are what is left of the fine china, Danish plantation owners from the end of the 1700-century, had sailed to their big houses on sugar plantations, so they could eat in style, while slave-made women, men and children toiled in the fields outside. In brutal, inhumane conditions.

The local people call the fragments chaney  – a mixture of china and money, for previously children in the islands collected china fragments and used them as play money.

LEDGERS FROM A LOST KINGDOM
The exhibition ' Ledgers From a Lost Kingdom ' by La Vaughn Belle opens Friday March 10.
It can be seen in the exhibition house Meter, Henrik Rung's Street 25, CPH. up to 17. June

So the artist La Vaughn Belle tells, who lives on Saint Croix, and which she uses in her art.

“They are everywhere. And it is an interesting metaphor of colonization. Small stories that continue to return. As if they never intend to disappear”.

La Vaughn Belle is in Denmark to prepare for her solo exhibition ' Ledgers From a Lost Kingdom ', which opens tomorrow at the exhibition house Meter at Nørrebro (Copenhagen). She is also to participate in several other exhibitions, events and debates in the context of the 100th anniversary of the sale of Danish West Indies to the United States, and now she and I are sitting in a white-painted workspace in the National Workshops for Arts, which she has been given access to.

This is the third time La Vaughn Belle is in Denmark. And the three stays have given her the experience of a country which is still marked by colonial ways of thinking.

Unlike you, we do not have the opportunity to forget the 250 years since the Islands were Danish colony. That time affects every aspect of our lives

La Vaughn Belle believes that all Danes should take a reckoning with the past. She does not demand anyone, but she thinks it would be appropriate if we give an apology for Denmark's participation in slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean.

In her art, La Vaughn Belle is fascinated by how colonial tools and structures can be transformed, so that they can be used in resistance, she says.

“China is a symbol of wealth. The rebels went into the big houses and smashed the china and all the fine things that plantation owners had bought for money they had earned on the slave-made’s work. So, that narrative is in it as well“.

Around her neck hangs a necklace with a pendant of silver and wood. It is a knife like those the slave-made field workers used to chop sugar cane with in the plantations. And which at the same time were the knives, the slave-made workers used as weapons, when they resisted.

The first time La Vaughn Belle was in Denmark, in 2008, she visited the Royal Copenhagen's House in the main pedestrian street in Copenhagen. Here she found a chronological exhibition of historic china plates that went all the way back to the 1700 's.

Photo: Jens Dresling
La Vaughn Belle in her art has used the small pieces of colonial china that pop out of the ground on The U.S. Virgin Islands after a downpour.

 At that moment I understood that these pieces of china, which I had known since my childhood in the 1980’s on Saint Croix, were pieces of a larger story. It was an overwhelming experience, and it made me think about how we in the Caribbean have neither access to our full African, European or indigenous people’s identity. What we have are fragments. Which we have had to put together in order to create a new society “.

At the exhibition, La Vaughn Belles shows works that are arising out of the idea of how to create alternative ways to document history. When Denmark sold the colony of Danish West Indies to the United States in 1917, we took all of our documents with us.

“ Our archives were taken. My art works are counter archives, alternative ways to remember. Which also document the things in history that have been suppressed in the colonial archives, for example, the stories of resistance “.

Danish Colonial mindset

During her three visits to Denmark, it has shocked La Vaughn Belle, how little the Danes know about the time when we were colonial masters in the Caribbean. We suffer as a nation from a “ colonial loss of memory “, she says.

» When I meet people, and tell that I am from Saint Croix, there are many who do not even know what it is. You do not know of the history “, she said.

And it is not only with ordinary Danes, she is experiencing memory loss. Also, the institutions fail, she says.

“ The first time I was at the National Museum, I was actually shocked. It is, of course, where you are telling your national history. And then you put in 250 years of history in three small cabinets? This is really a part of history, you are failing to relate to “.

Last year Videnskab.dk made an April fool, where the magazine wrote that due to a special clause on sales treaty Denmark would be able to buy Danish West Indies back in the context of the 100-year of sales to the United States. As is this year.

“ When I was in Denmark last summer, several people were referring to that April fool and said: “ I believe in fact that we intend to buy you back. “ They had bought the joke, thought it was true, La Vaughn Belle says.

“ I had it like this: Sorry, buy who Who is it you intend to buy? However, what would justify you to do that? The impudence, the arrogance, the superiority, it is an expression of, it is really insulting. It showed me how many Danes are still marked by a colonial mindset. Otherwise it would be impossible to think like that “.

Last Friday, La Vaughn Belle attended a debate, which among other things was about immigration and integration in Denmark. It was a revelation for her, she says.

“ I could understand from the debate that many in Denmark believe integration is all about that the people who come here, must be just like you. They must adapt to you. It is a mindset that is centered around the Danish culture as superior. But listen, a meeting between people goes both ways. When you and I are sitting here facing each other, we should move each other .

The rebels went into the big houses and smashed china and all the fine things

The realization of the slave era

La Vaughn Belle thinks it would be good for all Danish citizens to visit the Islands in the Caribbean, where she lives.

“ Unlike you, we do not have the opportunity to forget the 250 years when the islands were Danish colony. That time affects every aspect of our lives. The history is impossible to forget. From the Danish names of towns, to when you are down at the beach and looking up sugar plantations, lying as ruins “, she says.

“ And we are still colonial citizens. We are Americans, but not real Americans. My children are in elementary school, where they learn more about American history than of the Virgin Islands ' own history. We have inherited a colonial political system that works poorly, and which makes it hard to improve things. There are so many aspects of our society that do not function “.

During the first visit in Denmark, it was a very different society, which met her.
“ I thought: Whoa, wait, everything is working here! The health care system, education system, your transportation system. The Western countries have exploited resources all over the world and been able to build a very comfortable society. And at the same time, I experience this unwillingness to acknowledge how you came here. It was not just your work, it was several hundred years of subjugation and exploitation of other people and their resources “.

What La Vaughn Belle experiences as a colonial loss of memory and displacement, testifies of a country that is far from the Denmark, we want to see us as, she says.
“ Denmark is projecting an image of itself as a progressive country, a country of science and a fair country. You have a conviction that you as a nation do things because it's the right thing to do. But would it then not be the right thing to recognize that you have harmed someone in the past? “.

La Vaughn Belle understood herself for the first time, that she was a descendant of slave-made Africans when she as a 12-year-old read the book ' Roots ' by Alex Haley.

“ That book made me understand why my family was landed here in the Caribbean. And it was a sorrow to me. I cried, so my eyes were about trundle out of the head of me while I was thinking about the men and women before me who have been alienated and disenfranchised slaves. 
I could feel their pain. A pain, I did not know was in me '.
The world of whiteness

Her parents did not speak about slavery when she was a child and grew up in Saint Croix, where her parents had moved to from Trinidad and Tobago, when she was quite small. But at school, she had a teacher, a white American who drew the narrow space on the floor in which the slaves were assigned on board slave ships from Africa. Then he asked the children to lie down, shoulder to shoulder, and just notice the room. And then imagine how it would be to lie there for several months without being able to move. The experience set out in her as a profound realization.

Although La Vaughn Belle has dealt extensively with colonization and racism, through her yearlong practise with art, her own daughters of 8, 6 and 4 are still influenced by the past, she says. The family lives in a suburb of Christiansted on Saint Croix, in an area where there are the greatest number of black residents. Anyway, she has experienced that the daughters have wept over their curly hair.

“ Those are some of the things you go through as a black child. You want, that your nose is different, that your skin is light, that your body is different. We internalize the hierarchy between the races, which was established in the past. And when I see my daughters think like that – it is so hard for me “.

In the same way as La Vaughn Belle as being an artist herself has delved down into history, she believes that the Danes have a need to face our past as slave owners right into our eyes. 

“ I mean, of course, that the Danish Government must apologize for slavery and colonialism. It is in its place. But, then, I believe, in fact, everybody should say sorry. I believe everyone should make it work inside themselves so past trauma can be healed, and the present can be free from them “.

A lot of people think that we should not say we are sorry for something that happened many years ago.

“ No, but that is, because they cannot see, that the colonial times are still impacting the world , we live in. With its injustices and odd structures. The world is centred around whiteness and western culture. Still. And you are in need of healing too. Because it is the same brutal mindset, which can make possible the brutality of slavery, that, is impacting your relationship to immigrants today, I believe. That is how I see it.” she says. 

“ Denmark carried out some actions in the past, that were really harmful. And which are still causing harm. The natural is to apologize. “

Okay. Then I wish to say I am sorry to you, while we are sitting here. I wish to say that I am sorry for Denmark’s participation in slavery and the slave trade.

La Vaughn Belle is looking down at the table that is between us. Then she says quietly:
“ I accept your apology. “

After that the atmosphere is changed. 

Do you think it is contributing to heal our mutual historical past, that I said, that I am sorry?

“ You know what ? I have actually never experienced before that someone did that directly to me. “

It was not something , I had prepared myself to. 

“ Yes I believe this is contributing to bring healing. Actually, it felt like a sincere recognition. It became as a stage with you and me here. I felt that you had listened to that which I had to say - and that you could see the pain, I have talked about. Because I could see the same pain in your eyes. And I believe that is the encounters we need in order to change things.” Says La Vaughn Belle. 

Listen up, when my daughter is looking out into the world she asks me: " Mummy, why do they never show pictures of people who look like me? " She wants to be a model and cannot see anyone who has curly hair like hers. What answer can I give her? It is because they do not think that you are beautiful? That I cannot say to her, she is 8 years-old. But I do not have to tell her that, because she knows that. 

While we have been talking the sherds from a handful of blue-white chaney have been laying at the table. Like small stories of a past, that keeps popping up.

La 
Vaughn Belle sighs.

When people say colonialism is something of the past, I say: “ Excuse me, but have you looked out into the world? It is the same structures we are living under today. On both sides. “

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Press: Danish National Radio

Featured on Danish National Radio under the title Kunstner fra De Vestindiske Øer skildrer kolonitiden og slavernes liv i sin kunst It aired 22 FEB. 2017,KL. 16:40. Click here to listen. (The program is in Danish with brief snippets in English)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Press: Performance Art Series in St. Croix, Take 5, Calls For Love and Rebellion

An excerpt of Kurt Mc Vey's piece for Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art:



La Vaughn Belle in her studio in Christiansted, St. Croix, photo by Wyatt Gallery

"Day three involved a tour through a small vernacular cottage in Free Gut, a part of Christiansted where free Africans lived during Dutch colonial times. The space is owned by Tobago-born artist La Vaughn Belle and will be featured in her forthcoming documentary, The House that Freedom Built. The small cottage, a work of art as much as a work in progress, was serving as a quaint studio for Belle. The small abode stood in stark contrast to the previous evening’s Mango Hill Greathouse. There was no concerted follow up discussion regarding the polarized nature of the two locations or how the island remains economically polarized, while serving as a clear microcosm for wealth disparity in America; perhaps because it’s only appropriate to deconstruct the nature of white privilege when you’re not directly enjoying the fruits of it.  


Since 2011, Belle has been uncovering the complex and tumultuous history of the small cottages and is quite vocal about the prevailing obstacles in place for black members of the Caribbean community to take out bank loans in order to purchase land and property. Much of the funding for her artwork and the documentary comes from various artist grants. It should also be noted that Belle had to personally contend with a deeply embedded drug addict who had been squatting there, even weeks after she officially owned the space. I found her compassionate tone regarding his removal and ultimate fate to be quite touching. Once Belle was able to enter and fully evaluate the amount of work that was needed to bring the space up to code, a new, ongoing internal conflict developed for the artist concerning the erosion of the house’s original architecture and the need to replace it with new materials not directly linked to its historical roots. 

Belle walked us through a series of unfinished paintings featuring zoomed-in images of the blue patterns often found on “chaney,” a Virgin Island slang term for fragments of European fine china, unearthed in the dirt by children who would use the fragments as faux money (china+money=chaney). Belle has become so fascinated with these fossilized artifacts of fractured European decadence that she traveled to Denmark to examine the country’s preserved collection of colonial fine china, dating back to the 17th century. She was flatly denied permission to see the china, as major institutions are not always enthusiastic about exhuming their various skeletons, however pretty they may be.

One of Belle’s more impactful pieces was a sculpture featuring various fossilized fragments of the surrounding coral reef, which slaves and eventually free men, bloody feet and all, would use for the foundations of their Free Gut housing. The gray coral was piled and encased in a see-through Plexiglas pedestal. Belle’s studio visit fell directly on the heels of our “Harvard erected by slaves” discussion in the van. This unassuming work, inside this humble structure, illustrated the idea, and rather powerfully, that no matter how far we thrust into the future as a collective Western society and bury our transgressions in the past; we must push ourselves to fully comprehend, as transparently as possible, both the real and metaphorical foundations of our homes, communities, and institutions, whether they be academic, economic, or governmental. Despite Belle’s hospitality, and perhaps due to her extensive and ever-flowing knowledge regarding the space’s history and her warm but penetrating eyes, the walls started to creep in on me, and I had to step outside and take five with the island’s numerous little lizards. "

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE SEE HERE

GROUP EXHIBITION: Unravellings, Udstillingsstedet Meter, Copenhagen, DK

Unravelings

Opening of the next stage of the exhibition with artworks by the artists:
La Vaughn Belle, Javier Tapia, Trine Mee Sook Gleerup,
Nanna Debois Buhl and Julie Edel Hardenberg

Friday January 20th at 5-8pm
Exhibition period: January 5th – May 14th 2017


On Friday January 20th Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. In that context it seems appropriate that we invite you to the opening of the second stage of our exhibition Unravelings, in which we will focus on the centenary of Denmark’s sale of the Virgin Islands to the US as well as on colonial structures. The election of Trump as President reminds us that freeing a people is not necessarily equivalent to corresponding privileges, and that decolonisation of land or a populace does not mean the end of old structures of power.



La Vaughn Belle, Learning To Be, 2016; Julie Edel Hardenberg, no title, 2017; Javier Tapia, Floating worlds, 2017

2017 is the centenary of Denmark’s sale of three Virgin Islands to the US. At meter we mark this through the exhibition Unravelings, a five-month exhibition in which we will look at Denmark as a colonial power, and how this affects today’s society and our sense of national identity. The exhibition will slowly take form, develop and expand over the five-month long exhibition period. In this context we would like to invite you to an expansion of the exhibition with artworks by five national and international artists that are preoccupied with and examine past and present colonial structures.

For 250 years these islands were exploited as a profitable sugar industry, based on slave labour. Three quarters of the islands' population today are the descendants of slaves and the structural and mental imprints of colonialism are still evident. Architectural details and street names bear witness to the Danish presence on the islands. Conversely colonialism helped to finance the Danish state and the construction of many of the historic buildings in Copenhagen. Our ownership of the islands influenced the development of Denmark both economically and structurally. But what about the mental imprints left on us by colonialism? Is an awareness of this part of our past only upheld through a sense of history or does it also influence our understanding of ourselves?



Nanna Debois Buhl, There Is This House, 2008; Trine Mee Sook Gleerup, Racial Representation, 2013-


In her artistic practice La Vaughn Belle researches how Danish culture and colonization has had an influence on the people of the Virgin Islands and their sense of identity, the structures of society and memory.

Javier Tapia engages in how race and ethnicity is visualised and how this affects our understanding of otherness.

The artwork Racial Representation by Trine Mee Sook Gleerup is also centred around ethnic stereotyping and consists of a collection of food items that exemplifies this form of imagery.

As a part of her practice Nanna Debois Buhl has researched Denmark’s role as a former colonial power in the Caribbean and the visual traces that have been left behind both on the Virgin Islands and in Denmark.

Julie Edel Hardenberg looks at how Danish culture influences the Greenlandic self-image and questions the idea that the people of Greenland are a uniform community.


meter is a non-profit exhibition space centred around curatorial experimentation. During our first two years we will create exhibitions that take an investigative and critical view of society and structures within society through art and artistic practices.

For more information visit our homepage www.meterspace.dk or contact us via e-mail: info@meterspace.dk

--

meter
Henrik Rungs Gade 25
2200 København N

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Highlights




 2016 HIGHLIGHTS 
____________________________________

                                   FEBRUARY/ MARCH      
 MAGAZINE COVER |  St. Croix This Week  





I was pretty excited to be featured in the February and March Issue of St. Croix This week with "The Planter's Chair" and "Chaney Series" paintings respectively. 



                                                                                           FEBRUARY
GROUP EXHIBITION | Invisible Heritage: Identity, Memory and Our Towns   


Curated by Monica Marin this collaborative project and exhibition explored marginalized histories through vernacular traditions and the built environment at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts. My ongoing project, "The House That Freedom Built" along with my "Cuts and Burns" series was featured. 











                                                          FEBRUARY                                          
 | GROUP EXHIBITION |  Anatomy of An Heirloom |                                                            


Along with Gerville Larsen and Niarus Walker Benjamin I exhibited at the Top Hat Gallery a series of new work that dealt with gestures and objects that are treasured and passed on. Variations of the "Cuts and Burns" series were exhibited along with a new work that were juxtapositions of images from personal archives paired with the Danish historical archives. 







                                                                  MARCH
 | GROUP EXHIBITION |  Ocean of Dignified Dust | 



Curated by Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight and David Knight Jr this interpretive historical and art exhibit at the Yacht Haven Grand centered around the legacy of the "Coal Carriers" of St. Thomas. I exhibited my series of charcoal drawings, "Storms (and other violent interruptions of the pintoresco)"







__________________________________APRIL                                                                   
 | DANISH NATIONAL TV | Kald Mig Bare Brun  |      

I was a part of Danish actor and comedian's Anna Neye documentary for Danish National TV called "Kald Mig Bare Brun" which focussed on questioning Denmark's racial issues and it's connection to it's colonial past. I was interviewed in 2015 in my studio to talk about my artwork in the context of the relationship between the Virgin Islands and Denmark. The show aired in April 2016. Anna Neye and me will continue our conversation in March 2017 in a panel discussion with artist Jeannette Ehlers and moderated by Dr. Temi Odemuso.


                                      JULY/ AUGUST                    
 | RESIDENCY |  Danish Arts Workshop |                            

I spend three weeks in Copenhagen at Danish Arts Workshop to begun the research and preparation for my solo show this March 2017 at |meter| kunstalle. I originally planned to continue working on my "cuts and Burns" series but as good fate would have it I forgot about the coversion of the power and burned out my equipment the first day. This forced me to consider working on something else, a project from my sketchbook that was related to my growing interest in architecture as a space for negotiating freedoms. It was wonderful to be able to see this project come to life.


                                              AUGUST 
 | GROUP EXHIBITION | Where is Here |          

 Where Is Here, curated by Jacqueline Francis and Kathy Zarur at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, evokes the real and conceptual space through which we travel. I exhibited two pieces, "Cuts and Burns" and "Chaney Series _002 and 003 (we live in the fragments)". Both pieces were expanded for the show. The "Cuts and Burns" grew in size as I developed more panels to suit the space and the "Chaney" paintings evolved into an installation with the fragments in a mound of dirt. The show runs until April 2017.
                               DECEMBER  
 | ARTS FESTIVAL |  Take Five  | 

On the heels of Art Basel in Miami, I participated in an inaugural performance festival in St Croix. My project "The House That Freedom Built" was featured alongside works by David Antonio Cruz, Jeannette Ehlers, Oceana James, Kharis Kennedy and Rashad Newsome. The festival was curated by Monica Marin and Carla Acevedo Yates and produced by Alaina Simone, Inc and centered around performance art works that responded to gender, identify, race and history. 







                               DECEMBER  
 | NEWS FEATURE |  St. Croix Source  | 


Trinidadian-American writer Lesley Ann Brown featured me in 2-part article based on conversations we had during my residency in Denmark and after about my work and the Danish colonial history. Part I and Part II can be found here and here