Christina Leslie's Portraits

N.L.S., A New Local Space

Deborah Caroll Anzinger's artist run residency and exhibition space in Kingston


Leasho Johnson's Provocative Re-interpretation in 'Canopy Guild'

Light Sensitive

Marlon James' black and whites

Annalee Davis: ON THE MAP

Caribbean Political Documentary

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The lure of International Art Centres (IACs)

Wanting to think about some drawings I have been doing I wanted to see where my work fit in with some of the artists whose work I really relate to. In that search I came across a Kenyan blog with a post on Wangechi Mutu. I really enjoy her work as it is really aesthetically pleasing and seems to meld Western aesthetics with images that reflect and challenge ideas about African imagery. The work is political but bathed in the glow of beauty so it makes me want to just look. While enjoying that act of looking, ideas, stories and questions seep in.

However the issue at hand was that the writer of this article was taking a Canadian art critic to task. The said critic, Murray Whyte was not in agreement of The Art Gallery of Ontario's expenditure to mount a major show for a non-Canadian artist. Of course the writer for 'Breaking News Kenya' found this ever so slightly offensive if not more. I bring this up as a post because Caribbean artists may or may not find that many grants and opportunities for exhibiting close to the International Art Centres (IACs)*, mostly found in 'developed' nations, are directed towards citizens. This can prove frustrating at times as the Caribbean artist goal is to exhibit work in these IACs.

On the one-hand viewpoints like Whyte's find validation in that the country's taxpayers support the institutions that curate culture. In a manner of speaking it can be understood as an agreement with taxpayers to pooling resources to ensure that for e.g. Canadian Art becomes globally recognised. ....But  that may only cover one side of the equation. A country's museums and galleries also bare the responsibility of putting on exhibitions that show new and global perspectives and expose that country's people to other world views and ideas. I add this because surely those creatives who can undertake dialogues about the world and 'ART' extends beyond artists within the borders of any one particular country. Surely the importance of an artists voice depends on more than their classification as a citizen of a particular nation.

What do you think about this? The link to the original article is below. Do you feel that location, citizenship etc. privileges an artists success within International Art Centres of the world? 

This being said as I consider whether relocating to an IAC such as London or New York or Paris or Tokyo etc. may be a better career move than living and working in our hometown. What do you think about this: Do you feel that the Art World is globalizing meaning an artist could live anywhere in the world and still gain exposure or is it that the main International Art Centres remain as edgy because they are attracting more international artists? What about citizenship-clause policies like Whyte's as discussed above?

Comment below to give your feedback and checkout the Breaking News Kenya article. See more about Wangechi Mutu's work on Youtube.

*The term 'IACs', abbreviated from International Art Centres was coined by myself and I am not necessarily aware of it as an official phrase or jargon in use within the field.