In October 2012 the Foundation Ateliers ’89 presented the exhibition ARUBA LINKED. This important exhibition offered an opportunity to young Aruba, Dutch and Caribbean artists to show their most recent art works. The show not only presented the young talent but raised the issue of their collective future by discussing how we are to survive as artists and be continuously linked while living on a Caribbean island and how we may relate with other creatives in the Caribbean. Most Popular through Facebook, to be linked or connected is the worldsʼ most popular way to be associated right now.
When young locals are sent abroad from these islands to realize their dreams they often remain attached to their island of origin with one foot in Holland (or where ever), and the other in Aruba, for example. An inner unrest that never ends accompanied by a nagging feeling that it always seems better in the other place. With this feeling in mind, fifteen young artists were asked to express themselves in their new art works by posing the question, why is it that we are so eager to stay linked to our origins? Is it love, family, or a connection to our roots. Or is it something else like drugs, immigration fear and all the confusion and uncertainty that this brings. How do we remain connected?
Aruba Linked is a show which presented the works of young creatives supported by a discussion about our link to the island space including questions about how we decide to stay in a metropolitan city or decide to return to the island itself. And if we return, how do we profile our work internationally? How do we progress as artists in islands, many without galleries, curators, museums and critics?
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS INCLUDED:
Aruba; Pricilla Lacle, Kevin Schuit, Natusha Croes, Efrem Angela, Robin de Vogel, Germille Geerman, Rosabelle Illes, Kevin Mc David, Melissa Richardson, Hildward Werleman, Joanie Croes, Randy Orly, Jess Wolf. From Holland; Jowy Maasdame and from Barbados; Janelle Griffith, Versia Harris
From 2007, the Foundation Ateliers ’89 has created opportunities for young artists to follow their dreams through exchanges where they can develop their own work through the artist in residence program, the teaching program and by organizing symposiums with local and international artists, critics and curators. Ateliers ʼ89 offers the local public and art lovers exhibitions and manifestations in the biggest open venue on the island, with different shows throughout the year. It offers an open platform, a stage and a theater where everyone is welcome to create, perform and express themselves.
To showcase the young is to showcase the offspring of Foundation Ateliers ’89, offering the youth a unique moment in their careers. To support this exhibition, Ateliers ʼ89 also organized a three-day symposium in partnership with Fresh Milk of Barbados, Popopstudios in the Bahamas, ARC Magazine and Salon Aruba. Ateliers ʼ89 invited a number of regional and international creatives to the opening of ARUBA LINKED on the 14th of October, 2012. This includes Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, El Museo del Barrio, curator of Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, New York, USA; Paco Barragan, writer and independent curator based in Madrid; Annalee Davis, Visual Artist and Founder/Director of Fresh Milk, Barbados; John Cox, Visual Artist, Assistant Curator at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and co-founder of Popop Studios, The Bahamas; Holly Bynoe, co-founder and editor, ARC Magazine, St. Vincent & The Grenadines and Director, New Media at the Trinidad +Tobago Film Festival.
A series of presentations by these visiting creatives took place on Saturday 13th October followed by a group panel on Monday 15th October. The panel, titled ʻBuilding a Cultural Industry in the Caribbeanʼ looked at the cultural industries throughout the region including discussions about the future survival of Caribbean creatives living and working in the islands and the expansion of the regional cultural arena.
The intention of Annalee Davis was to (i) develop awareness of the rapidly expanding creative arena engendered by the proliferation of informal networks (ii) discuss the importance of strategies for mentoring young creatives (iii) exchange ideas about building a more robust and functional cultural industry in the region and (iv) investigate alternate options for promoting the works of creatives from the region and within the diaspora.