Jennifer Allora (b. United States 1974; works in Puerto Rico) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. Cuba 1971; works in Puerto Rico), Under Discussion, 2005, Single-channel DVD, sound, 6 min. 14 sec., Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris.

Being Caribbean — A History of Slavery and Colonialism

Christopher Cozier (b. Trinidad,1959), Tropical Night, Grid One, detail, 2006-present, Ink, pencil, stamps on paper, 9 x 7", Courtesy of the artist.

Miguel Luciano (b. Puerto Rico, 1972; works in United States). Platano Pride, 2006. Chromogenic print, 40 x 30", Courtesy of the artist.


Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Infinite Island:
Contemporary Caribbean Art

August 31, 2007-January 27, 2008

Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art examines how the Caribbean is defined, as both a real and an imaginary location. Including nearly 80 works in a wide range of media, created within the past six years by 45 emerging and established artists.

The exhibition approaches the Caribbean as a uniquely flexible space, where culture and history offer multiple possibilities of interpreting contemporary Caribbean experience.

The mix of cultures created by slavery and colonialism, along with the modern Diaspora of Caribbean people migrating to metropolitan centers around the world, has shaped a dynamic culture incorporating distinct histories and artistic traditions.

Despite their idyllic beauty Caribbean nations struggle with legacies of Colonialism and nationalism, as they search for new identities. These issues, along with the multiplicity of religious beliefs and contemporary popular culture have generated new perspectives on Caribbean identity and experience.

The artists represented have ties to 14 Caribbean nations: Barbados, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Monserrat, Nevis, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Surinane, and Trinidad and Tobago

The exhibition is organized around the themes of History and Memory, Politics and Identity, Myth, Ritual and Belief, and Popular Culture. These themes provide entry points into the complexity of artworks.

The artists employ a range of materials that include traditional materials and industrial objects such as discarded automobile tires and plastic plates. These works include paintings, photography, prints and other works on paper, video, installation works, and sculpture.

Among the works included is El Dorado, a mixed-media piece by Hew Locke, who was raised in Guyana and now lives and works in London. The large-scale work is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with low-culture objects to subvert the power usually associated with the monarchy.

Nicole Awai, a Trinidadian now living in Brooklyn, has created a complex image with graphite, paint, nail polish and glitter on paper titled Specimen from L. E. (Local Ephemera): Resistance with Black Ooze.

Jean-Ulrick Désert, a Haitian artist who now divides his time between New York City and Berlin, has created an installation of four mannequins clad in the flags of the former colonial powers that dominated the Caribbean titled Burqa Project: On the Border of My Dreams I Encountered My Double’s Ghost

A diptych series by Quisqueya Henríquez, from Cuba and now living in the Dominican Republic, explores the contrast between the ideal as might be seen by a tourist alongside the reality of the poverty in which some Caribbeans exist, as reflected in a pair of sunglasses.

Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition has been curated by Tumelo Mosaka, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art and Exhibitions.

A catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum in association with Philip Wilson Publishers will accompany the exhibition.

Infinite Island is made possible in part by the Peter Norton Family Foundation, the American Center Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The catalogue is supported by a Brooklyn Museum publications endowment established by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jean-Ulrick Désert (b. Haiti; works in Germany and United States), The Burqa Project: On the Borders of My Dreams I Encountered My Double’s Ghost, detail, 2001, Mannequins and textiles, 63 x 118", Courtesy of the artist.

Hew Locke (b. United Kingdom 1959), El Dorado (Detail), 2005, Mixed media, 114-1/4 x 68-7/8 x 23-5/8". West Collection, Oaks, Pennsylvania, Photograph FXP Photography).