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Blue Curry, Florine Démosthène, Ricardo Edwards, Deborah Jack, Patricia Kaersenhout, Miguel Luciano, Anna Jane McIntyre, René Peña, Marcel Pinas, Belkis Ramírez, Kara Springer

‘The Visual Life of Social Affliction’ is a traveling exhibition with 11 artists from across the Caribbean and its diaspora. With poignant but also beautiful and hopeful works, these artists critically engage with long-standing experiences of loss and social suffering in the region.

Recognising the real senses in which the Caribbean was born in the structural violence of Native genocide, African slavery, and Asian indenture instituted by colonial powers, and their very contemporary repercussions on social life, the exhibition seeks to capture the impact of dominating powers on the lives of Caribbean people.

‘The Visual Life of Social Affliction’ is a project by Small Axe, a Caribbean Journal of Criticism. Its name is inspired by a Jamaican proverb, famously popularised by Bob Marley: “If you are a big tree, we are a small axe.” The ethos informing the work of Small Axe is that relatively marginal voices of creativity and dissent can have disproportionate critical effects if they remain responsive and attuned to the changing contexts of Caribbean life in the global world.

For this project, Small Axe commissioned artists Blue Curry (Bahamas/London), Florine Démosthène (Haiti/New York), Ricardo Edwards (Jamaica), Deborah Jack (St. Martin/Jersey City, NJ), Patricia Kaersenhout (The Netherlands), Miguel Luciano (Puerto Rico/New York), Anna Jane McIntyre (Canada), René Peña (Cuba), Marcel Pinas (Suriname), Belkis Ramírez (Dominican Republic), and Kara Springer (Barbados/Toronto). Ten writers from the Caribbean diaspora were commissioned for the accompanying publication.

Project curators are David Scott and Erica Moiah James.

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Project Wiaspora x TENT: podcast conversations

Gyonne Goedhoop, Richard Kofi and Simone Zeefuik will explore what ‘being Caribbean’ means in different urban contexts in the Netherlands, in a series of public podcast conversations with guests held at TENT and published on Project Wiaspora onSpotify.

The project was generously supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation. This European edition of the exhibition is a collaboration between TENT and the Research Center for Material Culture / Wereldmuseum Rotterdam.

Photos are made by Aad Hoogendoorn & Jarmil Martis