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Rockstone and Bootheel: 
Contemporary West Indian Art

Curated by Kristina Newman-Scott and Yona Backer
14 Nov 2009 - 14 Mar 2010
Real Art Ways (Connecticut, US)

Taking a journey to and from the Caribbean

From 14 November 2009 to 14 March 2010, the multidisciplinary arts organization Real Art Ways (based in Hartford, Connecticut, US) presents Contemporary West Indian Art with works by Caribbean artists focusing on the diaspora (movement of a population) in the exhibition 'Rockstone and Bootheel'.

The title of the exhibition comes from a Jamaican dub-metal song 'Rockstone and Bootheel' by Gibby. The phrase means 'taking a journey'.

Map: The artistis in this exhibition are mainly from the former British colonies Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago - called the 'Anglophone Caribbean' or the 'West Indies'.

The Carnival is one central theme of the artists who work with photography, paintings, sculptures, and multimedia. Sound and performative elements are taken from the Jamaican dance culture. The Caribbean Carnival is a unifying event with fantastic costumes that happens in the meanwhile worldwide.

The artists tell stories of the region's history: conflict, transformation, and cross-cultural exchange. They address issues including gender, race, sexuality and homophobia, crime and violence.

fig.: Marlon Griffith: From The 'Powder Box Schoolgirl' Series, Digital Print On Gator Board, 48x32", 2009

Marlon Griffith has powdered the sign of Louis Vuitton on the skin of the school girl. The fashion label is renown for its long tradition in making travel bags.

Artist and 'mas' (the word comes from 'Mas'querade) designer Marlon Griffith grew up in Trinidad, an island not far from the coast of Venezuela. On the web he describes his fascination for the Carnival: "As a young artist growing up in Trinidad, the carnival or 'mas' as we call it had a big impression. I have always found it to be a legitimate artform. It is public, participatory and interdisciplinary. This has made me want to continue in this tradition, pushing the art-form to a contemporary level." Source

He reports that he promotes the Carnival as an art-form even abroad for his social concerns such as education and self-development.

In September 2009, the artist held his 'POLITE' performance in Cape Town (article in the Trinidad, Tobago Guardian).

An interactive website and catalogue for the international audience will accompany the exhibition 'Rockstone and Bootheel'

Source: Original article with image and map on


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