5th Grenada Contemporary
Exhibit Opening: September 27th
“…beneath this insipid facade, we rediscover the ardor of a land. I see the mockery of the image, and I do not see it. I catch the quivering of this beach by surprise, this beach where visitors exclaim how beautiful! how typical! and I see that is it burning.” – Édouard Glissant
“This is how the islands from the shame of necessity sell themselves; this is the seasonal erosion of their identity, that high-pitched repetition of the same images of service that cannot distinguish one island from the other, with a future of polluted marinas, land deals negotiated by ministers, and all of this conducted to the music of Happy Hour and the rictus of a smile.”
– Derek Walcott
The beach, aside from being an a tranquil attraction to visitors and locals alike is an equally conflicted and negotiated space. Following the prompts of two of the Caribbean’s greatest writers and thinkers, Édouard Glissant and Derek Walcott, the curatorial theme for the 5th Grenada Contemporary is to take on the concept of the beach in all of its complexity.
For some, the beach is an economic space where they are able to make a living selling directly or indirectly to visitors who inhabit it as a recreational space. Fishermen, vendors, conservationists, dive shops, hoteliers, and restaurants, make their livelihood from this place where water meets land. The beach is also a place that communicates to us about the world outside and reacts to ecological and environmental impact. The beach is a site where waste from rivers and far off lands is deposited, telling us a forensic story about the sea-borne refuse in the world. Algae blooms, dying coral reefs, sand mining and private beaches that become dumping sites show us the seduction of misusing our resources.
In a more social sense, who are we when we visit a beach and set aside usual societal norms of attire and behaviour? Is it possible we are more our true selves when activated by sand and sea? What do we consider when we think about the beach as a welcoming ground to indigenous settlers as well as colonial conquerors? The beach is a curative site and a place of baptism, whether religious or in the cleaning of oil from a Jab Jab’s skin after J’ouvert. There is something about the beach that calls us to be more than we are and we balk at stereotypes that simplify the beach to a tan, a cocktail, a selfie, a memory, an aspiration.
Local and international artists are encouraged to apply and think openly and broadly about the role of the beach in society, culture, politics, economics, environment, and history.
The 5th Grenada Contemporary will be held at Art House 473 in Calliste, Grenada. This recently renovated space had been a Pentecostal church before they outgrew the building and moved to a bigger space. Under new ownership it has been converted into a dynamic art centre close to the Maurice Bishop International Airport, hotels, and the commercial area of Grand Anse. We are able to accommodate larger work than in the past and we are looking forward to hosting the 5th edition of the Grenada Contemporary here starting on September 27th.