Small Axe: The Visual Life of Social Affliction
12/06/2019 to 02/28/2020
212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL 33137
Little Haiti Cultural Complex
The Global/Borderless Caribbean XI Series presents: The Visual Life of Social Affliction, a small axe project in partnership with The Little Haiti Cultural Center and the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance.
The Visual Life of Social Affliction seeks to generate a public conversation, shaped by a studied engagement with Caribbean art centered on long-standing experiences of social suffering in the region.
Rather than focus on the pretty, presentable, and picturesque aspects of Caribbean histories and life, this exhibition brings together the work of ten global Caribbean artists whose practices reach below the surface of prevailing narratives and tourism-focused visualities, to plumb the depths of violence that have fueled and continue to impact Caribbean formation and reformation; Native genocide, African slavery, Indian indenture, plantation economies, piracy, forces of empire and colonialism, neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism.
Through this work, this exhibition seeks to unmoor and expand our perception of “afterlives” in relation to these forces in the period of the “post” (postcolonial, post-revolutionary, post-independence), in order to encourage reflection on the ways these forces remain tethered to, and active in, shaping our present. How might art capture the destructive impact of dominating powers on the lives of Caribbean people? How might it work to encourage Caribbean people to first consider and then address present interconnected circumstances of state and social violence, rising crime, growing gang culture, violence against women and LGBTQ communities, economic fragility and rising debt, environmental crises, and energy generation, excessively high rates of cancer and other health concerns, inadequate care for the elderly and ageism, human trafficking, intraregional xenophobia, poor governance and inadequate governmental negotiation and response to the growing presence and power of multi-national corporations and new state forms of colonial power, the region’s myopic relationship to tourism as a dominant and sustainable economic form, and other challenges?
The Small Axe Project believes that the visual arts constitute one of the most vital and expressive hermeneutics through which to explore social life in general and the life of social affliction in particular. This exhibition extends vision, cultivating an art-based discursive practice that embraces wider publics.
This exhibition honors the life of artist Belkis Ramirez (Dominican Republic, 1957 – 2019)